Background: Despite a relatively recent decline in the global incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae it seems that some segments of the population such as street youth, sex workers, and individuals with social problems or delinquent behavior could be part of a core group for STDs. These persons may be reluctant to undergo STD diagnosis in traditional medical settings.
Goals: To determine the prevalence of C trachomatis and N gonorrhoeae infection using polymerase chain reaction on urine samples among subjects attending an anonymous HIV testing clinic and four community organizations in Quebec City, and to identify associated risk factors.
Study design: A cross-sectional study of 626 street youth, sex workers, and women with social problems or delinquent behavior was conducted.
Results: The prevalences of N gonorrhoeae and C trachomatis were, respectively, 1.1% (95% CI, 0.5%--2.3%) and 5.8% (95% CI, 4.1%--7.9%). No significant difference was found between men and women, but the sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevalence was much higher in subjects younger than 20 years: 11.4% versus 3.6% (P < 0.01). In a logistic regression model, factors independently associated with STD infection were age younger than 20 years (OR, 2.6; P = 0.007), occasional sex partners (OR, 2.9; P = 0.007), and injection of drugs (OR, 2.8; P = 0.002) in the preceding 6 months.
Conclusions: A moderate STD prevalence was found in the study population. The prevalence, however, can be considered high (>10%) among street youth and young sex workers. Providing community-based STD screening and treatment services appear to be an efficient method for reaching these high-risk groups.