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Hospitalisations for pelvic inflammatory disease in young Aboriginal women living in remote Australia: the role of chlamydia and gonorrhoea


Objective Aboriginal women living in remote Australia experience a high burden of both chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections and disproportionately high rates of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). We estimated for the first time the fraction of PID attributable to these infections in young Aboriginal women living in these settings.

Methods Using published data from two large Australian studies (2002–2013; 2010–2014), we calculated the fraction of emergency department presentations and hospitalisations for PID attributable to chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea infection in Aboriginal women aged 16–29 years living in remote Australia. We used a Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the mean and 95% CIs for the assumed prevalence and population attributable fractions for PID for infection stratifications (chlamydia only, gonorrhoea only and dual infection) as well as for any infection (chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea). Additional outputs were calculated for chlamydia infection with/without gonorrhoea coinfection, and vice versa.

Results The prevalence of chlamydia only was 12.9% (95% CI: 11.6% to 14.2%), gonorrhoea only was 7.8% (95% CI: 6.6% to 8.9%) and dual infection was 6.5% (95% CI: 5.8% to 7.2%); rate ratios of PID were 1.9 (95% CI: 1.5 to 2.3), 5.2 (95% CI: 4.3 to 6.4) and 4.6 (95% CI: 3.8 to 5.5), respectively. The overall fraction of PID attributable to chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea was 40.2% (95% CI: 36.0% to 44.4%); any gonorrhoea was 33.4% (95% CI: 29.2% to 37.8%) and any chlamydia was 20.6% (95% CI: 16.9% to 24.6%).

Conclusion Our study demonstrates the importance of calculating the fraction of PID related to chlamydia and gonorrhoea in the local context, demonstrating the major contribution gonorrhoea makes to PID hospitalisations among Australian Aboriginal women living in remote settings. To significantly and sustainably reduce the unacceptable rate of PID in this population, strategies are urgently needed to improve timely testing and treatment and recognition and management of PID in primary care.

  • gonorrhoea
  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • chlamydia infections
  • Chalmydia trachomatis
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae

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