HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) are getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia and gonorrhea, at suboptimal rates.

Jun Li, MD, PhD, MPH, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, and colleagues analyzed medical records data from participants of the HIV Outpatient Study. They published their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The data came from clinics in Chicago; Denver; Stony Brook, New York; Philadelphia; Tampa, Florida; and Washington, DC. The study period ran from 2007 to 2017.

Among 4,727 people with HIV, 397 of them were diagnosed with chlamydia 881 times and 331 of them were diagnosed with gonorrhea 861 times. This translated to a diagnosis rate per 100 cumulative years of follow-up of 2.95 cases of chlamydia and 2.88 cases of gonorrhea among the study group as a whole.

Between 2007 and 2017, both the diagnosis and testing rates increased by about 3.0-fold for chlamydia and 1.9-fold for gonorrhea.

After adjusting the data to account for various differences among the cohort members, the study authors found that factors associated with being diagnosed with chlamydia included being younger, being a man who has sex with men and having been previously diagnosed with an STI.

Among the study’s 1,159 MSM, 583 (50.3%) received 844 chlamydia tests and 843 (72.7%) received gonorrhea tests between 2016 and 2017. Just 26.6% of these screenings were what’s known as three-site testing because they test for the STIs at the urethra, rectum and the throat. This yields the highest accuracy.

Factors associated with chlamydia testing among MSM included being younger, being a race other than Black or Latino and having prior STIs.

“To promote sexual health and [STI] prevention among [people with HIV], including MSM, research regarding the added value of [chlamydia] and [gonorrhea] testing across three anatomic sites is needed,” the study authors concluded.

To read the Healio article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.