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Mycoplasma genitalium: prevalence and behavioural risk factors in the general population

Abstract

Background:Mycoplasma genitalium has been shown to cause urethritis in men and cervicitis in women and may also be a causative agent in female infertility.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of urogenital M genitalium infection and identify sexual behavioural risk factors in the general population.

Methods: Participating individuals were 731 men and 921 women aged 21–23 years and not seeking the healthcare system because of symptoms. They answered questionnaires on sexual behaviour and provided samples for M genitalium testing.

Results: In women aged 21–23 years, the prevalence of infection was 2.3% (21/921) and in men of the same age it was 1.1% (8/731). For both sexes, an increasing number of partners was associated with a greater chance of being infected. Among women a shorter duration of a steady relationship and having a partner with symptoms was associated with being infected, and for men younger age at first intercourse was associated with M genitalium infection.

Conclusions: We conclude that the prevalence of infection in the general population is too low for population-based screening. However, the development of test algorithms based on behavioural risk factors is a promising alternative.

  • FVU, first void urine
  • STD, sexually transmitted disease
  • STI, sexually transmitted infection
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