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Research Letter
Cross-sectional study of patients tested for STIs using molecular methods in Brazil
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  • Published on:
    Testing for STIs in Brazil using molecular methods
    • David Taylor-Robinson, Emeritus Professor of Genito-urinary Microbiology and Medicine Imperial College London
    • Other Contributors:
      • Patrick Horner, Consultant Genitourinary Medicine Physician and Assoc. Professor
      • Anna Pallecaros, Consultant Genitourinary Medicine Physician

    The Research Letter by Marinho FL and Zauli D (1) is interesting, but it raises several contentious issues. Understanding the prevalence of genital-tract micro-organisms that constitute the genital microbiome (2) is important (3) and the authors were concerned with this in respect of six micro-organisms that were detected by a molecular method (PCR). Whether they give them equal weight so far as pathogenicity is concerned is unclear because they did not relate them to any specific clinical disease. We appreciate that any micro-organism mentioned, including U. urealyticum, might have pathogenic potential under certain circumstances (4), but finding U. urealyticum as the most prevalent (62.47%) followed by M. hominis (9.31%) does not elevate their status as pathogens and raises clinically important questions of whether these micro-organisms, including U. parvum, should be tested for at all in a diagnostic procedure, unless part of a research programme, and, if tested, whether such positive results justify treatment. Admittedl the authors do not expressly state that, on the basis of a positive test result, patients would be treated automatically with antibiotics. Nevertheless, we must emphasize that the use of antibiotics in many such cases would seem inappropriate, not least because it might promote antibiotic resistance, sometimes in microbes of undoubted importance, such as N. gonorrhoeae and M. genitalium (6). Modern molecular technology is a boon, but it must not be al...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.