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Cervicitis: a review

Lusk, M Josephinea; Konecny, Pamb

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: February 2008 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 49–55
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3282f3d988
Sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections: Edited by Anton L. Pozniak

Purpose of review Sexually transmitted infections impact significantly on global health. Whereas Chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoea and syphilis have been extensively examined, there remains a paucity of knowledge of nonchlamydial and nongonococcal cervicitis, an arguably more prevalent but poorly characterized condition with uncertain clinical implications. With increasing application of molecular diagnostic methods for the detection of sexually transmitted infections and a growing body of literature on cervicitis, a review is timely.

Recent findings The number of putative aetiological agents implicated in cervicitis is growing and includes Mycoplasma genitalium, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, bacterial vaginosis and Trichomonas. The potential role of cervicitis in HIV transmission has been highlighted. Increasing broad-spectrum antibiotic usage with associated emergence of antimicrobial resistance reinforces the need for targeted antibiotic therapies, including the management of cervicitis.

Summary As our understanding of the aetiology and significance of cervicitis, particularly nonspecific cervicitis, improves, management will be refined. Advances in molecular diagnostic testing will facilitate this process, but urinary nucleic acid amplification testing should not replace clinical examination while cervicitis prevalence and significance is not yet established. A standardized approach to cervicitis research, particularly with consensus of case definition, may facilitate outcomes that can be more generally applied in clinical practice.

aRPA Sexual Health, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

bShort Street Sexual Health Service, Department of Immunology & Infectious Diseases, St George Hospital, Faculty Medicine University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Correspondence to Dr Josephine Lusk, RPA Sexual Health, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Rd., Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia Tel: +61 2951 53131; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.