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Trends of gonorrhoea and early syphilis in Belgrade, 1985–99
  1. M Bjekić1,
  2. H Vlajinac2,
  3. S Šipetić2,
  4. N Kocev3
  1. 1City Department for Skin and Venereal Disease, Belgrade
  2. 2Institute of Epidemiology, School of Medicine, Belgrade University
  3. 3Institute of Social Medicine, Statistics and Health Research, School of Medicine, Belgrade University
  1. Professor Dr Hristina Vlajinac, Institute of Epidemiology, School of Medicine, Belgrade University, Višegradska 26, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia

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Sexually transmitted diseases represent a major public health problem and the advent of HIV infection during the past decade has highlighted the importance of infections spread by the sexual route.

The purpose of this study was to report trends of gonorrhoea and early syphilis in the Belgrade population (about two million inhabitants) during the period 1985–99, and to discuss the data in the light of changes in gonorrhoea and syphilis rates in other countries of eastern Europe.

Material and methods

Primary, secondary, and early latent syphilis (referred to as early syphilis) were defined using generally accepted criteria. For diagnosis of early syphilis the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) and Treponema pallidum haemagglutination (TPHA) tests were used. For diagnosis of gonorrhoea standard laboratory examination was used—that is, microscopy and inoculation on culture media. Reporting on syphilis and gonorrhoea is compulsory in Yugoslavia. In Belgrade all reports are sent to the municipal department for skin and venereal diseases. These reports were used as the source of data for incidence cases.

The incidence rates for syphilis and gonorrhoea were calculated using data from the 1991 Yugoslav census for the Belgrade population. Age adjustment of yearly incidence was carried out by a direct method using the “World population” as the standard.

Data about possible source of infection, provided on the official form for notification of syphilis and gonorrhoea, were also analysed.


The early syphilis incidence rates in men showed a decreasing trend during the first half of the period observed, followed by an …

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