Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection spreading worldwide and a serious public health problem. However, further data are required to improve the management of gonorrhea.
Our aim was to review the features of gonococcal infection and characterize the challenges of its management.
A retrospective descriptive study of the medical records of 136 adult patients with gonorrhea that visited Ternopil Regional Sexually Transmitted Infections Clinic (Ukraine) in 2013-2018 was performed.
The male-to-female ratio was 6.6:1. Homosexually-acquired gonorrhoea was 3.7%. Also, most patients acquired gonorrhea in Ukraine (98.4%). The mean infectious period lasted 2-16 days, including the incubation period of 1-9 days and the period from the onset of symptoms to the first visit of the clinic of 1-7 days. The probability of N. gonorrhoeae transmission within the frame of the epidemiologic sexual chain was 1:2.4. Concurrent T. vaginalis (39.7%) and C. trachomatis (2.2%) were detected. HIV and syphilis screening rates were 1.6% and 0.7%, respectively. The examining rate of sexual partners was 11%, testing extragenital specimens – 0.7%, screening coverage for HIV – 46.3%, compliance with follow-up visits – 41.9%. Part of patients (16.2%) received monotherapy with clarithromycin, doxycycline, benzylpenicillin, azithromycin, or ofloxacin.
The management of N. gonorrhoeae infections was compromised by a low rate of examining sexual partners, females and testing extragenital specimens, screening for HIV, compliance to follow-up visits, access to nucleic acid amplification tests, and receiving questionable or even obsolete antimicrobial treatment. Therefore, more accurate and comprehensive management of gonorrhea is urgently needed in Ukraine.