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The impact of HIV infection and socioeconomic factors on the incidence of gonorrhea: A county-level, US-wide analysis.

PLoS One; 12(9): e0183938, 2017.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28863154


Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported identifiable disease in the United States (U.S.). Importantly, more than 25% of gonorrheal infections demonstrate antibiotic resistance, leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to classify gonorrhea as an "urgent threat".


We examined the association of gonorrhea infection rates with the incidence of HIV and socioeconomic factors. A county-level multivariable model was then constructed.


Multivariable analysis demonstrated that HIV incidence [Coefficient (Coeff): 1.26, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.86, 1.66, P<0.001] exhibited the most powerful independent association with the incidence of gonorrhea and predicted 40% of the observed variation in gonorrhea infection rates. Sociodemographic factors like county urban ranking (Coeff: 0.12, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.20, P = 0.005), percentage of women (Coeff: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.28, 0.53, P<0.001) and percentage of individuals under the poverty line (Coeff: 0.45, 95% CI: 0.32, 0.57, P<0.001) exerted a secondary impact. A regression model that incorporated these variables predicted 56% of the observed variation in gonorrhea incidence (Pmodel<0.001, R2 model = 0.56).


Gonorrhea and HIV infection exhibited a powerful correlation thus emphasizing the benefits of comprehensive screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the value of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV among patients visiting an STI clinic. Furthermore, sociodemographic factors also impacted gonorrhea incidence, thus suggesting another possible focus for public health initiatives.