High incidence of new sexually transmitted infections in the year following a sexually transmitted infection: a case for rescreening

Ann Intern Med. 2006 Oct 17;145(8):564-72. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-145-8-200610170-00005.


Background: Studies show 11% to 15% of women treated for Chlamydia trachomatis are reinfected 3 to 4 months after treatment, suggesting the need for rescreening. There is little information on infections among men, infections with Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Trichomonas vaginalis, or long-term follow-up.

Objective: To determine the incidence of new sexually transmitted infections during the year after a visit to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic and associated risk factors.

Design: Secondary analysis of data from a randomized, controlled trial (RESPECT-2).

Setting: 3 urban STD clinics.

Patients: Sexually active patients enrolled in an HIV prevention counseling trial.

Measurements: Patient characteristics at the initial visit; behaviors during follow-up; and new infections with C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, or T. vaginalis (women only) detected during 4 scheduled return visits and any other interim visits.

Results: 2419 persons had 8129 three-month follow-up intervals. Among 1236 women, 25.8% had 1 or more new infections (11.9% acquired C. trachomatis, 6.3% acquired N. gonorrhoeae, and 12.8% acquired T. vaginalis); among 1183 men, 14.7% had 1 or more new infections (9.4% acquired C. trachomatis, and 7.1% acquired N. gonorrhoeae). Black persons and those with sexually transmitted infections at baseline were at highest risk for recurrent infection (adjusted odds ratio, 2.5 and 2.4, respectively). For persons infected at baseline, the risk for infection was high at 3 and 6 months (16.3 per 100 three-month intervals) and remained high at 9 and 12 months (12.0 per 100 three-month intervals). Most (67.2%) infections were diagnosed during study-related visits, and 66.2% of these patients reported no symptoms.

Limitations: Because patients were recruited from STD clinics, results may not be generalizable.

Conclusions: Men and women who receive diagnoses of C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, or T. vaginalis infections should return in 3 months for rescreening because they are at high risk for new asymptomatic sexually transmitted infections. Although single-dose therapy may adequately treat the infection, it often does not adequately treat the patient.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections / drug therapy
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / drug therapy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / drug therapy
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / epidemiology
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis / prevention & control
  • United States / epidemiology