Clinical presentation of asymptomatic and symptomatic women who tested positive for genital gonorrhoea at a sexual health service in Melbourne, Australia

Mario Martín-Sánchez, Christopher K. Fairley, Jason J. Ong, Kate Maddaford, Marcus Y. Chen, Deborah A. Williamson, Catriona S. Bradshaw, Eric P.F. Chow

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Gonorrhoea cases in women have been rising in Australia in the 2010s but the cause of the increase is not well understood. This cross-sectional study aimed to describe the characteristics of genital gonorrhoea infection in women attending the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Australia. Gonorrhoea cases were diagnosed by nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) and/or culture. Genitourinary specimens were obtained in 12,869 clinic visits in women aged 16 years or above between August 2017 and August 2018. Genital gonorrhoea was detected in 142 (1.1%) of the visits. Almost half of the cases were asymptomatic, 47.9% (95% CI: 39.8-56.1%); yellow, green or pus-like vaginal discharge was present in 11.3% (95% CI: 7.0-17.6%) and other genital symptoms in 40.8% (95% CI: 33.1-49.1%) of the cases. The mean time between last sexual contact and onset of symptoms was 7.3 days and between the onset of symptoms to presentation to the clinic was 12.1 days. Half of the cases of genital gonorrhoea among women are asymptomatic and these cases would have been missed by testing of only symptomatic women. Further epidemiological and behavioural research is required to understand the temporal changes in sexual practices among women in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere240
Number of pages7
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2020


  • Asymptomatic Infections
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • sexual behaviours
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • women

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