OBJECTIVES--To assess the significance of inflammatory changes as a marker of sexually transmitted diseases and their use as a diagnostic aid. METHODS--363 patients attending a department of genito urinary medicine were examined prospectively. All underwent cervical cytology and full STD screening. Cervical cytology was assessed for evidence of the presence or absence of inflammatory changes. RESULTS--There was no significant association between inflammatory cytology and cervical ectropion or dyskaryosis. Infections with Chlamydia trachomatis and Trichomonas vaginalis were significantly associated with inflammatory changes but there was no significant association with chlamydia alone, and 91.1% of T. vaginalis infections were detected on cytology. CONCLUSION--The presence of inflammatory changes on cervical cytology seems a poor indicator of sexually transmitted diseases.
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