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How to Identify Exposed Women Who Are Infected with Neisseria gonorrhoeae.


Treatment trials of antibiotics for Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections frequently enroll primarily men with urethritis, as the diagnosis of acute gonococcal infection in men with urethritis is easily made by Gram stain of the urethral exudate, followed by confirmatory culture or nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs). Enrolling women in treatment trials is of great importance, but N. gonorrhoeae cervical infections cause nonspecific symptoms. This makes it difficult to conduct interventional trials, as large numbers of women with nonspecific symptoms need to be screened for infection. Gram stain of cervical secretions has a strikingly low sensitivity, and culture and/or NAAT results are not available at the time of screening. This necessitates recall and delayed treatment of infected women who may not return and who may spread the infection during the interval. In this chapter we present an algorithm, derived from a comparison of women who did, or did not, become infected during exposure, which identifies those women who are highly likely to be infected before culture and/or NAAT results are available. The algorithm provides an efficient way to conduct interventional trials in women without the problem of recall and delayed treatment.

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