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Gonorrhoea Gone Wild: Rising Incidence of Gonorrhoea and Associated Risk Factors Among Gay and Bisexual Men Attending Australian Sexual Health Clinics

15 November 2018
Karolanne O'Keefe

Publication date
November 2018

Original abstract
Gonorrhoea notifications continue to rise among gay and bisexual men in Australia and around the world. More information is needed on infection trends, accounting for testing and complimented by demographics and risk practices.

A retrospective cohort analysis was undertaken using repeat gonorrhoea testing data among gay and bisexual men from 2010 to 2017, which was extracted from a network of 47 sexual health clinics across Australia. Poisson and Cox regression analyses were used to determine temporal trends in gonorrhoea incidence rates, as well as associated demographic and behavioural factors. Results: The present analysis included 46904 gay and bisexual men. Gonorrhoea incidence at any anatomical site increased from 14.1/100 person years (PY) in 2010 to 24.6/100 PY in 2017 (P<0.001), with the greatest increase in infections of the pharynx (5.6-15.9/100 PY, P<0.001) and rectum (6.6-14.8/100 PY, P<0.001). After adjusting for symptomatic and contact-driven presentations, the strongest predictors of infection were having more than 20 sexual partners in a year (hazard ratio (HR)=1.9, 95 % confidence interval (CI): 1.7-2.2), using injecting drugs (HR=1.7, 95 %CI: 1.4-2.0), being HIV positive (HR=1.4, 95 %CI: 1.2-1.6) and being aged less than 30 years old (HR=1.4, 95 %CI: 1.2-1.6).

Gonorrhoea has increased dramatically among gay and bisexual men in Australia. Enhanced prevention efforts, as well as more detailed, network-driven research are required to combat gonorrhoea among young men, those with HIV and those who use injecting drugs.

Callander, D., Guy, R., Fairley, C., Mcmanus, H., Prestage, G. P., P. F. Chow, E., Chen, M., C. O’Connor, C., Grulich, A., Bourne, C., A. Stoove, M. and Donovan. B. (2018). Gonorrhea and associated risk factors among gay and bisexual men attending Australian sexual health clinics. Sexual Health. DOI: 10.1071/SH18097.

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gonorrhoea, men, bisexuality, homosexuality, sexual health, Australia, risk factors, symptoms


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