Nasopharyngeal flora in HIV seropositive men who have sex with men

Genitourin Med. 1997 Dec;73(6):477-80. doi: 10.1136/sti.73.6.477.


Objectives: To assess, in men who were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and who identified themselves as having had sex with men; the nasopharyngeal prevalence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, N meningitidis, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, and candida species; oral sexual behaviour; the relation between oral flora and oral sexual behavior.

Method: Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken from HIV seropositive men for culture. The men were also asked to complete a self administered questionnaire.

Results: 390 men were recruited; 286 (73.3%) provided nasopharyngeal samples and questionnaires; 41 (10.5%) provided nasopharyngeal samples only; 63 (16.2%) provided questionnaires only. From the 327 nasopharyngeal samples N meningitidis was cultured in 49 (15%) and candida species in 165 (50.5%). Cultures for N gonorrhoeae and C diphtheriae were all negative. Data from the 349 completed questionnaires indicated that 285 men were practising oro-penile sex, over 90% did not consistently use condoms; 150 men were practising oro-anal sex, one used dental dams. In those providing both nasopharyngeal samples and sexual behaviour data meningococcal carriage was identified in 40 (17.5%) of the 228 men practising receptive oro-penile sex, compared with one (2.3%) of the 43 non-practisers (p < 0.025); in 21 (20%) of the 105 men practising insertive oro-anal sex, compared with 17 (12.5%) of the 136 non-practisers (p = 0.12). No correlation was identified between yeast carriage and oro-genital sex.

Conclusion: Oro-genital sex, usually without barrier protection, is common among HIV infected men who have sex with men. It appears to be associated with increased meningococcal carriage but is autonomous to candida species isolation. Routine screening for nasopharyngeal N gonorrhoeae is not deemed necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Candida / isolation & purification*
  • Carrier State / microbiology
  • Corynebacterium diphtheriae / isolation & purification*
  • HIV Seropositivity / microbiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / isolation & purification*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*