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Asymptomatic Urethritis Is Common and Is Associated With Characteristics That Suggest Sexually Transmitted Etiology

Gillespie, Catherine W. PhD*†; Manhart, Lisa E. PhD†‡; Lowens, M. Sylvan PA-C§¶; Golden, Matthew R. MD†§¶

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2013 - Volume 40 - Issue 3 - p 271–274
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31827c9e42
Note

We evaluated 236 asymptomatic men for urethritis, assessed sexual behaviors, and tested urine for pathogens. Asymptomatic urethritis was present in 38 (16.1%). Of these, nearly half (42.1%) had a previously unrecognized discharge on examination; only 18.4% had a known pathogen. Correlates included black race, anal intercourse, and number of sex partners.

Urethral inflammation was detected among 16% of asymptomatic men in this study. Behavioral correlates suggest sexually transmitted etiology, yet most patients were tested negative for known sexually transmitted pathogens.

From the *Children’s Research Institute, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC; †Center for AIDS and STD, Departments of ‡Epidemiology §Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; and ¶Public Health–Seattle and King County STD Clinic, Seattle, WA

Supported by the University of Washington Sexually Transmitted Infections and Topical Microbicides Cooperative Research Center (Grant No. NIH/NIAID U19 AI31448) and by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. NIH/NIAID R01 AI072728). Dr Gillespie was funded by a University of Washington STD/AIDS Research Training Fellowship grant (Grant No. NIH/NIAID T32 AI07140).

Previous presentations: This work was presented, in part, at the 2010 CDC National STD Prevention Conference; Atlanta, GA, USA; March 8–11, 2010 (Abstract No. B3c).

Conflicts of interest: There are no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Catherine W. Gillespie, PhD, Children’s National Medical Center, Children’s Research Institute, Center for Translational Science, 111 Michigan Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010. E-mail: cgillesp@childrensnational.org.

Received for publication July 23, 2012, and accepted November 2, 2012.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal’s Web site (http://www.stdjournal.com).

© Copyright 2013 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association