The value of testing multiple anatomic sites for gonorrhoea and chlamydia in sexually transmitted infection centres in the Netherlands, 2006-2010

Int J STD AIDS. 2012 Sep;23(9):626-31. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2012.011378.


National surveillance data from 2006 to 2010 of the Dutch sexually transmitted infection (STI) centres were used to analyse current practices on testing extragenital sites for chlamydia and gonorrhoea in men who have sex with men (MSM) and women. In MSM, 76.0% and 88.9% were tested at least at one extragenital site (pharyngeal and/or anorectal) for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, respectively; for women this was 20.5% and 30.2%. Testing more than one anatomic site differed by STI centre, ranging from 2% to 100%. In MSM tested at multiple sites, 63.0% and 66.5% of chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnoses, respectively, would have been missed if screened at the urogenital site only, mainly anorectal infections. For women tested at multiple sites, the proportions of missed chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnoses would have been 12.9% and 30.0%, respectively. Testing extragenital sites appears warranted, due to the numerous infections that would have been missed. Adding anorectal screening to urogenital screening for all MSM visiting an STI centre should be recommended. Since actual testing practices differ by centre, there is a need for clearer guidelines. Routine gonorrhoea and chlamydia screening at multiple sites in STI centres should be investigated further as this might be a more effective approach to reduce transmission than current practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anal Canal / microbiology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology
  • Female
  • Genitalia / microbiology*
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Pharynx / microbiology*