Diagnosed Gonorrhea Among Privately Insured Women: Analysis of United States Claims Data

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2023 Sep;32(9):942-949. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2023.0006. Epub 2023 Jun 29.


Background: Gonorrhea incidence in the United States has risen by nearly 50% in the last decade, while screening rates have increased. Gonorrhea sequelae rates could indicate whether increased gonorrhea incidence is due to better screening. We estimated the association of gonorrhea diagnosis with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy (EP), and tubal factor infertility (TFI) in women and detected changes in associations over time. Materials and Methods: This retrospective cohort study included 5,553,506 women aged 18-49 tested for gonorrhea in the IBM MarketScan claims administrative database from 2013-2018 in the United States. We estimated incidence rates and hazard ratios (HRs) of gonorrhea diagnosis for each outcome, adjusting for potential confounders using Cox proportional hazards models. We tested the interaction between gonorrhea diagnosis and the initial gonorrhea test year to identify changes in associations over time. Results: We identified 32,729 women with a gonorrhea diagnosis (mean follow-up time in years: PID = 1.73, EP = 1.75, TFI = 1.76). A total of 131,500 women were diagnosed with PID, 64,225 had EP, and 41,507 had TFI. Women with gonorrhea diagnoses had greater incidence per 1000 person-years for all outcomes (PID = 33.5, EP = 9.4, TFI = 5.3) compared to women without gonorrhea diagnoses (PID = 13.9, EP = 6.7, TFI = 4.3). After adjustment, HRs were higher in women with a gonorrhea diagnosis vs. those without [PID = 2.29 (95% confidence interval, CI: 2.15-2.44), EP = 1.57, (95% CI: 1.41-1.76), TFI = 1.70 (95% CI: 1.47-1.97)]. The interaction of gonorrhea diagnosis and test year was not significant, indicating no change in relationship by initial test year. Conclusion: The relationship between gonorrhea and reproductive outcomes has persisted, suggesting a higher disease burden.

Keywords: ectopic pregnancy; human reproduction; infertility; pelvic inflammatory disease; sexually transmitted infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydia Infections* / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease* / complications
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States