Conference Coverage

Age cutoff suggested for STI screening in HIV patients



– Current guidelines recommend a minimum of annual screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia in all sexually active individuals with HIV infection. However, this goal, which is frequently not attained in HIV clinics, may be excessive in certain populations with HIV infection.

Courtesy CDC

In particular, women as well as men who have sex exclusively with women (MSW) may best be served by targeted, age-based screening rather than universal screening, according to a presentation by Susan A. Tuddenham, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

“Detection and treatment of gonorrhea and chlamydia in HIV-positive patients in the United States is a priority both because of patient morbidity and because of the potential for these infections to enhance transmission of HIV,” said Dr. Tuddenham.

She and her colleagues assessed data from 16,864 gonorrhea and chlamydia tests of all adults in care at three HIV Research Network sites during 2011-2014. She presented the data at a conference on STD prevention sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They assessed the number needed to screen (NNS) in order to identify a single infection across three risk populations of individuals with HIV infection: 1,123 women, 1,236 men who have sex only with women (MSW), and 3,501 men who have sex with men (MSM). NNS was defined as the number of persons tested divided by the number who tested positive and was calculated for the three risk groups for urogenital and extragenital (rectal and pharyngeal) sampling and by age.

Dr. Tuddenham and her colleagues found that NNS based on urogenital screening was similar in all three groups for those individuals aged younger than or equal to 25 years: 15 for women (95% confidence interval, 9-71); 21 for MSW (95% CI, 6-171); and 20 for MSM (95% CI, 12-36). However at ages greater than 25 years, the picture changed, with urogenital NNS increasing to 363 for women (95% CI, 167-1000); 160 for MSW (95% CI, 100-333). For MSM over the age of 25 years, however, the NNS only increased to 46 (95% CI, 38-56).

There were insufficient numbers of extragenital screenings of women and MSW for analysis. But for MSM, rectal NNS was 5 and 10 for those men aged 25 years and younger and those aged over age 25 years, respectively, and pharyngeal NNS was 8 and 20 for the two groups, respectively.

“Our results provide some support for age-based screening cutoffs for women and MSW, with universal screening appropriate for those less than or equal to 25 years of age, and targeted screening for those over 25,” said Dr. Tuddenham. She emphasized the importance of continued universal screening of MSM of all ages for gonorrhea/chlamydia, in particular using extragenital screening as well in order to capture those missed by urogenital screening alone.

Dr. Tuddenham reported that she had no disclosures.

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