Background: The frequent coexistence of two or more sexually transmitted diseases in one patient has been reported in non-dermatological literature, mostly in languages other than English. Identification of Ureaplasma urealyticum, Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma hominis in men with other STDs is important, since these bacteria have been implicated in a variety of diseases such as non-gonococcal urethritis, premature rupture of fetal membranes, and infertility in female sexual partners of these patients.
Objective: To assess the frequency of concomitant STD, particularly urethral colonization of U. urealyticum, C. trachomatis and M. hominis, in men consulting for suspected STD-related symptoms.
Methods: All patients attending our dermatology clinic for STD-related symptoms during a 12 month period in 1996–97 underwent systematic clinical and laboratory screening for syphilis, gonorrhea, NGU, prostatitis, genital herpes simplex infection, Condyloma acuminatum, urethral carriage of U. urealyticum, C. trachomatis and M. hominis, as well as serological screening for HIV, and hepatitis B and C infections.
Results: A total of 169 men with STD-related symptoms were enrolled in the study. The following clinical diagnoses were established: NGU in 109 men, C. acuminatum in 40, genital herpes simplex in 10, prostatitis in 7, latent syphilis in 6, primary syphilis in 1, and Behcet’s disease in 1. No clinical evidence of STD was found in 13 patients. Of the 169 patients, 39 (23%) had two or more concomitant STDs, of whom 27 (69%) had C. acuminatum associated with one or more of the urethral pathogens. A positive U. urealyticum culture was found in 67.5% (27/40) of the men with C. acuminatum as compared to 42% (40/96) among the patients with NGU who did not have C. acuminatum (P=0.004, X2 test). Conversely, the prevalence of C. acuminatum among patients positive for U. urealyticum was significantly higher than the prevalence among those who were negative – 27/75 (36%) vs. 13/94 (14%), P<0.0009, X2 test. About half of the U. urealyticum-positive patients with C. acuminatum had no clinical signs or symptoms of urethritis.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that patients with C. acuminatum should be assessed for U. urealyticum carriage and, when identified, their sexual contacts should be actively sought and treated.
* Dr. Zvulunov is now with the Department of Pediatrics, Joseftal Hospital, Eilat, Israel.
STDs = sexually transmitted diseases
NGU = non-gonococcal urethritis