Background: Currently, individuals at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are tested extragenitally only if indicated, most often when there is a history of self-reported symptoms or self-reported anal sex. The sensitivity of such selective symptom- and sexual history–based testing for detection of anorectal STD has not been determined.
Methods: All men having sex with men (MSM) and swingers (heterosexual couples who have sex with other heterosexual couples and their self-identified heterosexual sex partners) attending our STD clinic (consults: n = 1690) from January 2010 until February 2011 were universally tested for urogenital, anorectal, and oropharyngeal Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections (STD). We compared STD prevalence at anorectal site based on universal versus selective testing.
Results: Sensitivity of selective symptom- and sexual history–based testing for anorectal STD was 52% for homosexual MSM, 40% for bisexual MSM, 43% for bisexual male swingers, 40% for heterosexual male swingers, and 47% for female swingers.
Conclusions: Universal testing of STD clinic clients who were MSM and swingers yielded more than half of all anorectal STD infections and is more sensitive for identifying anorectal STD infections compared with selective testing. Universal testing may be a more effective strategy for interrupting the ongoing transmission in high-risk sexual networks.