December 22, 2016
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STD testing for sexually active HIV–infected adults too low

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Data published in Clinical Infectious Diseases indicated that although testing for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea increased from 20% to 36% from 2009 to 2013 among sexually active HIV-infected adults, testing remains far lower than recommendations.

“Population-based information on trends in STD testing among HIV–infected persons is lacking and of particular importance given the recent increase in STDs.” Christine L. Mattson, PhD, from CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, and colleagues wrote. “Current guidelines … recommend that HIV-infected persons be screened at the time of HIV care initiation and sexually active persons be screened at least annually for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea; however, studies suggest that testing is bellow recommended levels.”

In the analysis, the researchers examined temporal trends in STD testing among sexually active HIV–infected adults receiving medical care in the U.S. from 2009 to 2013. They assessed the proportion of adults receiving HIV medical care who were tested for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea during the past 12 months using data from a population-based HIV surveillance system. They then stratified the data by sex and sexual behavior, age and race/ethnicity.

During 2009 to 2013, Mattson and colleagues reported a 16% increase in the proportion of sexually active HIV–infected adults who were tested for all three examined STDs in the past year (P < .01). The results showed that syphilis testing increased from 55% to 65% (P < .01). There were significant increases in all age groups except among those aged 18 to 29 years, and in the subgroups men who have sex with men (58% to 69%) and non-Hispanic whites (48% to 64%). Researchers found a 20% increase for overall chlamydia and gonorrhea testing from 22% to 42% (P < .01), and noted significant increases for most sub-groups.

“In 2013, 64% of persons did not receive recommended testing for all three STDs.” Mattson and colleagues wrote. “Given the morbidity associated with STDs and their potential to increase HIV transmission, our findings suggest that enhanced efforts may be warranted to screen all HIV–infected sexually active adults for syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea at all appropriate anatomical sites.” by Savannah Demko

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.