A comprehensive overview of urogenital, anorectal and oropharyngeal Neisseria gonorrhoeae testing and diagnoses among different STI care providers: a cross-sectional study

Casper D. J. den Heijer*, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe, Genevieve A. F. S. van Liere, Jan E. A. M. van Bergen, Jochen W. L. Cals, Frans S. Stals, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Gonorrhoea, caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), can cause reproductive morbidity, is increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics and is frequently asymptomatic, which shows the essential role of NG test practice. In this study we wanted to compare NG diagnostic testing procedures between different STI care providers serving a defined geographic Dutch region (280,000 inhabitants).

Methods: Data on laboratory testing and diagnosis of urogenital and extragenital (i.e. anorectal and oropharyngeal) NG were retrieved from general practitioners (GPs), an STI clinic, and gynaecologists (2006-2010). Per provider, we assessed their contribution regarding the total number of tests performed and type of populations tested, the proportion of NG positives re-tested (3-12 months after treatment) and test-of-cure (TOC, within 3 months post treatment).

Results: Overall, 17,702 NG tests (48.7% STI clinic, 38.2% GPs, 13.1% gynaecologists) were performed during 15,458 patient visits. From this total number of tests, 2257 (12.7%) were extragenital, of which 99.4% were performed by the STI clinic. Men were mostly tested at the STI clinic (71%) and women by their GP (43%). NG positivity per visit was 1.6%; GP 1.9% (n = 111), STI clinic 1.7% (n = 131) and gynaecology 0.2% (n = 5). NG positivity was associated with Chlamydia trachomatis positivity (OR: 2.06, 95% confidence interval: 1.46-2.92). Per anatomical location, the proportion of NG positives re-tested were: urogenital 20.3% (n = 36), anorectal 43.6% (n = 17) and oropharyngeal 57.1% (n = 20). NG positivity among re-tests was 16.9%. Proportions of NG positives with TOC by anatomical location were: urogenital 10.2% (n = 18), anorectal 17.9% (n = 7) and oropharyngeal 17.1% (n = 6).

Conclusions: To achieve best practice in relation to NG testing, we recommend that: 1) GPs test at extragenital sites, especially men who have sex with men (MSM), 2) all care providers consider re-testing 3 to 12 months after NG diagnosis and 3) TOC is performed following oropharyngeal NG diagnosis in settings which provide services to higher-risk men and women (such as STI clinics).

Original languageEnglish
Article number290
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2017


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