Sexually transmitted infections in HIV-infected people in Switzerland: cross-sectional study

PeerJ. 2014 Aug 26:2:e537. doi: 10.7717/peerj.537. eCollection 2014.


Sexually transmitted infections (STI) in HIV-infected people are of increasing concern. We estimated STI prevalence and sexual healthcare seeking behaviour in 224 sexually active HIV-infected people, including men who have sex with men (MSM, n = 112), heterosexual men (n = 65) and women (n = 47). Laboratory-diagnosed bacterial STI were more common in MSM (Chlamydia trachomatis 10.7%; 95% CI 6.2, 18.0%, lymphogranuloma venereum 0.9%; 95% CI 0.1, 6.2%, Neisseria gonorrhoeae 2.7%; 95% CI 0.9, 8.0%, syphilis seroconversion 5.4%; 95% CI 2.0, 11.3%) than heterosexual men (gonorrhoea 1.5%; 95% CI 0.2, 10.3%) or women (no acute infections). Combined rates of laboratory-diagnosed and self-reported bacterial STI in the year before the study were: MSM (27.7%; 95% CI 21.1, 36.7%); heterosexual men (1.5%; 95% CI 0.2, 10.3%); and women (6.4%; 95% CI 2.1, 21.0%). Antibodies to hepatitis C virus were least common in MSM. Antibodies to herpes simplex type 2 virus were least common in heterosexual men. Most MSM, but not heterosexual men or women, agreed that STI testing should be offered every year. In this study, combined rates of bacterial STI in MSM were high; a regular assessment of sexual health would allow those at risk of STI to be offered testing, treatment and partner management.

Keywords: Chlamydia trachomatis; HIV infection; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Herpes simplex type 2; Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Sexual health; Sexually transmitted diseases; Sexually transmitted infections; Syphilis.

Grants and funding

This study received financial support in the form of unrestricted grants from Pfizer and Merck Sharp and Dohme. Some of the clinical data for this work was within the Swiss HIV Cohort Study, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant # 134277). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.