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Gonorrhoea positivity among women aged 15–24 years in the USA, 2005–2007
  1. Linda Gorgos1,
  2. Lori Newman2,
  3. Catherine Satterwhite2,
  4. Stuart Berman2,
  5. Hillard Weinstock2
  1. 1Infectious Disease Bureau, Public Health Division, New Mexico Department of Health, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
  2. 2Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Linda Gorgos, Infectious Disease Bureau, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 St Francis Drive, Runnels Building S1157, Santa Fe, NM 87502, USA; linda.gorgos{at}


Objective To examine the epidemiology of young women screened for gonorrhoea in the USA.

Methods Data on tests for gonorrhoea among women aged 15–24 years attending family planning clinics from 2005 to 2007 were obtained through the infertility prevention project. Clinics testing 90% or more of women for gonorrhoea and sending 50 or more gonorrhoea tests per year were included. Gonorrhoea positivity on a state and county level was calculated and compared by age and race/ethnicity.

Results A total of 1 119 394 tests from 948 clinics was eligible for inclusion. Median state-specific gonorrhoea positivity was 1.3% (IQR 0.7–2.0%). Positivity was higher among women aged 15–19 years (1.4%, IQR 0.9–2.6%) than among those aged 20–24 years (1.1%, IQR 0.6–1.4%, p=0.03) and among non-Hispanic black women (3.8%, IQR 3.2–4.6%) than non-Hispanic white women (0.6%, IQR 0.4–0.8%, p<0.0001). Half of all gonorrhoea cases in these women originated from 57 of 753 counties. Among non-Hispanic white women, positivity was 2.0% or greater in 4% of counties, while 83% of counties had gonorrhoea positivity of less than 1.0%. Gonorrhoea positivity among non-Hispanic black women was 2.0% or greater in 58% of counties, and less than 1.0% in only one-third of counties. These disparities were present diffusely across the geographical areas included in this analysis.

Conclusions Gonorrhea positivity was consistently high for young non-Hispanic black women attending family planning clinics across multiple geographical regions. A large proportion of gonorrhoea morbidity was concentrated in a relatively small number of counties in the USA among this population of young women.

  • Epidemiology
  • gonorrhoea
  • race issues

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  • Funding This publication/project was made possible through a cooperative agreement between the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), award number 3U50CD300860; its contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of APTR or CDC.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.