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Cervicitis aetiology and case definition: a study in Australian women attending sexually transmitted infection clinics
  1. M Josephine Lusk1,2,3,
  2. Frances L Garden3,
  3. William D Rawlinson2,4,
  4. Zin W Naing2,4,
  5. Robert G Cumming3,
  6. Pam Konecny1,2
  1. 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Immunology and Sexual Health, Short Street Centre, St George Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4SEALS Microbiology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr M Josephine Lusk, Department of Infectious Diseases, Immunology and Sexual Health, Short Street Centre, St George Hospital, Kogarah, Sydney NSW 2217, Australia; luskjo{at}bigpond.com

Abstract

Objectives Studies examining cervicitis aetiology and prevalence lack comparability due to varying criteria for cervicitis. We aimed to outline cervicitis associations and suggest a best case definition.

Methods A cross-sectional study of 558 women at three sexually transmitted infection clinics in Sydney, Australia, 2006–2010, examined pathogen and behavioural associations of cervicitis using three cervicitis definitions: ‘microscopy’ (>30 pmnl/hpf (polymorphonuclear leucocytes per high-powered field on cervical Gram stain)), ‘cervical discharge’ (yellow and/or mucopurulent cervical discharge) or ‘micro+cervical discharge’ (combined ‘microscopy’ and ‘cervical discharge’).

Results Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), Mycoplasma genitalium (MG), Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) had the strongest associations with cervicitis definitions ‘micro+cervical discharge’: CT adjusted prevalence ratio (APR)=2.13 (95% CI 1.38 to 3.30) p=0.0006, MG APR=2.21 (1.33 to 3.69) p=0.002, TV APR=2.37 (1.44 to 3.90) p=0.0007 NG PR=4.42 (3.79 to 5.15) p<0.0001 and ‘cervical discharge’: CT APR=1.90 (1.25 to 2.89) p=0.003, MG APR=1.93 (1.17 to 3.19) p=0.011, TV APR=2.02 (1.24 to 3.31) p=0.005 NG PR=3.88 (3.36 to 4.48) p<0.0001. Condom use for vaginal sex ‘always/sometimes’ reduced cervicitis risk: (‘micro+cervical discharge’) APR=0.69 (0.51 to 0.93) p=0.016. Combined population attributable risk % (PAR%) of these four pathogens was only 18.0% with a protective PAR% of condoms of 25.7%. Exposures not associated with cervicitis included bacterial vaginosis, Mycoplasma hominis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, herpes simplex virus 1&2, cytomegalovirus, Candida, age, smoking and hormonal contraception.

Conclusions Cervicitis was associated with CT, MG, TV and NG with combined PAR% of these pathogens only 18% in this setting, suggesting other factors are involved. Condoms significantly reduced cervicitis risk. Cervicitis definitions with best clinical utility and pathogen prediction were ‘cervical discharge’ and ‘micro+cervical discharge’.

  • CERVICITIS
  • DIAGNOSIS
  • EPIDEMIOLOGY (CLINICAL)
  • CONDOMS
  • M GENITALIUM

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