Objective: Characterisation of population groups infected with common Neisseria gonorrhoeae NG-MAST sequence types (ST), presenting at Edinburgh GUM.
Methods: All patients with gonococcal infection attending over a two-year period were reviewed. Patients infected with unique, paired and clustered gonococcal STs were compared. Characteristics of patients infected with common STs were analysed. Concordance of gonococcal strains between sexual partners was examined.
Results: There were 78 unique, 17 paired, and 34 clustered STs: the three groups varied significantly in relation to patient gender and origin/ location of recent sexual contacts. There were nine large ST clusters (containing 11-24 isolates each), and these varied in terms of patient gender, sexual orientation and HIV prevalence. There was high concordance (94%) of sequence types between sexual contacts.
Conclusion: There was a trend towards significance when comparing the risks of carriage/ contact with HIV between different ST clusters. Further research is therefore warranted to determine if NG-MAST data can be used to help identify high-risk sexual networks.