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RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Characteristics of gonorrhoea cases notified in inner and south-western Sydney, Australia: results of population-based enhanced surveillance

Andrew Ingleton A , Kirsty Hope A , Zeina Najjar A , David J. Templeton B C D and Leena Gupta A E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sydney Local Health District Public Health Unit, Level 9 King George V Building, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

B RPA Sexual Health, Sydney Local Health District, 16 Marsden Street, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

C The Kirby Institute, Wallace Wurth Building, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

D Central Clinical School, Blackburn Building D06, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: Leena.Gupta@sswahs.nsw.gov.au

Sexual Health 13(5) 484-488 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH15183
Submitted: 15 September 2015  Accepted: 5 April 2016   Published: 23 June 2016

Abstract

Background: Gonorrhoea disproportionately affects young people and men who have sex with men (MSM). In Australia, the highest notification rates in urban areas occur in MSM, although characteristics of those infected are poorly described. Enhanced surveillance can provide population-based data to inform service delivery and health promotion activities. Methods: An enhanced surveillance and data collection form was sent to the ordering doctor for residents of Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts with positive gonorrhoea results notified between 1 August 2013 and 28 February 2014. Results: Questionnaires were sent for 777 notifications and 698 (89.8%) were returned. Eighty-five per cent (n = 594) were male. The majority (55.1%) resided in inner city Sydney. Of these, 91.9% were male, and 70.8% of these identified as MSM. Among females, regular partners were the most likely source of infection (44.1%), while MSM and heterosexual men identified casual partners as the likely source of infection (75.4% and 61.1% respectively). General practitioners diagnosed 60.5% of cases. MSM were more commonly diagnosed by sexual health clinics. Females were most commonly tested for contact tracing (35.6%), heterosexual males because of symptoms (86.3%), and MSM as part of sexually transmissible infection screening (40.6%). Conclusions: Our population-based analysis identified differing risk factors and testing characteristics between MSM, heterosexual males and females. Increasing rates of gonorrhoea and concerns over antibiotic resistance highlight the importance of obtaining accurate sexual histories to ensure appropriate testing. Intermittent enhanced surveillance can monitor trends in specific populations and help determine the impact of health promotion strategies.


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