BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES--At the STD clinic of the Municipal Health Service in Amsterdam, the annual number of infections with penicillinase-producing Neisseria gonorrhoeae (PPNG) strains remained relatively stable from 1983 until 1990, while the number of non-PPNG infections declined dramatically. To investigate the PPNG and non-PPNG epidemic, a cross sectional study was conducted in 1989 and 1990. The purpose of this study was to assess determinants of PPNG infections among heterosexuals diagnosed with gonorrhoeae. METHODS--In addition to routinely collected data in new consultations for STDs, information on alcohol use, drug use and sexual behaviour was obtained from patients diagnosed with gonorrhoea. The diagnosis of gonorrhoea was based on a positive culture and isolates were screened for PPNG. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess independent predictors of PPNG infection. RESULTS--Additional information was available of 328 women and 995 heterosexual men diagnosed with gonorrhoea. PPNG was diagnosed in 86/328 (26%) women and in 329/995 (33%) men. Logistic regression analysis identified a Central/South American nationality (odds ratio(OR) = 2.46) and older age (OR = 1.04 per year) as positively associated with PPNG infection in female patients. An inverse relation was found with use of hard drugs (OR = 0.29). Among men diagnosed with gonorrhoea, sexual contacts with window prostitutes (mainly women from Central/South America) (OR = 1.98) and a foreign nationality (OR = 1.78) were positively associated with PPNG infection, and sexual contact with drug using prostitutes (OR = 0.47) inversely. CONCLUSIONS--PPNG infections were especially common among Central and South American window prostitutes and their clients, but not among hard-drug addicted prostitutes and their clients. Since window prostitutes originating from Central and South American countries are transient in Amsterdam, prevention activities targeted at these prostitutes and their clients should be continued to limit the spread of PPNG and other STDs within these groups.
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