Two Distinct Gonorrhea Trends and Risk Factors among Women in Australia

Kate Whitford, Denton Callander, Lucy Watchirs Smith, Rebecca Guy, Marlene Kong, James Ward, Basil Donovan, Hamish McManus, Stephen Bell, Skye McGregor, Arun Menon, Darren Russell, Catherine C. O'Connor

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Background In recent years, gonorrhea notifications have increased in women in Australia and other countries. We measured trends over time and risk factors among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ("Aboriginal") and non-Aboriginal women. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from 41 sexual health clinics. Gonorrhea positivity at each patient's first visit (first-test positivity) during the period 2009 to 2016 was calculated. Univariate and multivariate analyses assessed risk factors for first-test positivity in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. Results Gonorrhea positivity decreased among Aboriginal women (7.1% in 2009 to 5.2% in 2016, P < 0.001) and increased among non-Aboriginal women (0.6%-2.9%, P < 0.001). Among Aboriginal women, first-test positivity was independently associated with living in a regional or remote area (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 4.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.52-7.31; P < 0.01) and chlamydia infection (aOR, 4.20; 95% CI,3.22-5.47; P < 0.01). Among non-Aboriginal women, first-test positivity was independently associated with greater socioeconomic disadvantage (second quartile: aOR, 1.68 [95% CI, 1.31-2.16; P < 0.01]; third quartile: aOR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.25-1.89; P < 0.01]) compared with least disadvantaged quartile: recent sex work (aOR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.37-2.08; P < 0.01), recent injecting drug use (aOR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.34-2.57; P < 0.01), and chlamydia infection (aOR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.90-2.91; P < 0.01). For non-Aboriginal women, being aged 16 to 19 years (aOR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49-0.80; P < 0.01) compared with those ≥30 years was a protective factor. Conclusions These findings highlight 2 different epidemics and risk factors for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women, which can inform appropriate health promotion and clinical strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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