A retrospective survey of 210 female patients with gonorrhoea who attended the West London Hospital during 4 months of 1973 showed that nine out of ten were diagnosed by tests taken at the first examination. Ten patients were diagnosed at third or subsequent examinations, but nine of them had defaulted for more than one month before the diagnosis was made, and the tenth gave a clear history of later infection. Three-quarters of the patients came because of known contact with infected males, and less than a quarter of patients who came for this reason were not infected. After one negative post-treatment test, all recurrences were associated with prematurely resumed sexual intercourse or contact with fresh infection. It is concluded that routine repetitive testing is unproductive, and that the tracing of contacts is of paramount importance.
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