Background/objectives: Increases in STIs have been reported from the United States and Europe. Since 2001, only syphilis and HIV are notifiable in Germany. A sentinel surveillance system has been set up to assess the occurrence and trends of STIs and identify risk groups.
Methods: Through the sentinel system data are collected from local health offices (LHO), hospital based STI clinics and private practitioners (dermato-venerology, urology, gynaecology, or HIV). For every newly diagnosed laboratory confirmed infection of HIV, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, or trichomoniasis physicians complete a standardised questionnaire regarding diagnosis, source of infection, and demographic information. Patients complete a questionnaire about sexual risk behaviour. The patient form is matched with the diagnosis form using a unique identifier number. Characteristics of sentinel patients were compared with those reported through the HIV and syphilis national notification system.
Results: 58 LHO, 14 hospital based STI clinics, and 160 private practitioners (53.1% dermato-venerologists) from all federal states participated in the study. 176 (75.9%) sentinel sites are located in cities of >100 000 inhabitants. From 1 March 2003–29 February 2004, a total of 1833 STIs have been reported, among them 452 chlamydia, 321 syphilis (10.9% of notified syphilis), 343 gonorrhoea, 269 HIV (15.7% of notified HIV). 925 (50.5%) of the patients were male, the median age was 31 years. Female patients were more often of foreign origin (χ2 test; 70.0% v 26.3%; p<0.001).
Conclusions: Our sentinel system will provide a base for detection of STI trends in Germany. In addition, information about sexual risk behaviour will enable us to target prevention at those most at risk for STIs.
- LHO, local health offices
- MSM, men who have sex with men
- PID, pelvic inflammatory disease
- STIs, sexually transmitted infections
- sexually transmitted infections
- sentinel surveillance
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Sources of funding: The project is funded by the German Ministry of Health.
Conflict of interest: None.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.