Background & objectives: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) a major public health problem in India show various trends in different parts of the country. However, there are limited data on the changing profile of laboratory proven STIs in the same clinic over the years. The present study was thus aimed to determine the changing trends of the profile of STIs and HIV seropositivity in STD clinic attendees over a 15 yr period, and also to detect change, if any, in the antimicrobial resistance pattern of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Methods: The STIs were diagnosed clinically and confirmed by standard laboratory techniques. Socio-demographic data were collected through pre-designed proformae. The STI profile and HIV seropositivity were compared between 1990-1993 (A), 1994-1997 (B), 1998-2001 (C) and 2002-2004 (D). Antimicrobial resistance pattern of N. gonorrhoeae was determined by standard techniques and compared between the last three periods.
Results: Of the 78,617 STD attendees, 12,709 (16.2%) had STIs. During period A, genital discharges and during B, C and D, genital ulcerative diseases were predominant. Syphilis was the commonest STI. There was significant rise in the cases of syphilis, herpes progenitalis and genital warts and reduction in that of chancroid, lymphogranulomavenereum (LGV), donovanosis, candidiasis, trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis cases. The number of cases with primary syphilis diminished significantly (P<0.001), with a concomitant rise in secondary and early latent syphilis. A rising trend was observed in the HIV seropositivity during the different periods. The association of HIV seropositivity was consistently more in patients presenting with genital ulcers specially syphilis, and rose significantly from A (0.6%) to C (8.8%), but became stationary during D. A drastic change in the antimicrobial resistance of N. gonorrhoeae from B to C and C to D and the emergence of less sensitive isolates to ceftriaxone during the later part of the study were observed.
Interpretation & conclusion: Our study showed a definite changing trend in the profile of STIs in the clinic attendees of a major STD centre during a 15 yr period. However, the significant rise in the cases of viral STIs and syphilis contrasted with reduction in the rest.