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Sexually Transmitted Disease: A Private Matter? - Curbside Consultation
ABSTRACT: Symptoms of urethritis in men typically include urethral discharge, penile itching or tingling, and dysuria. A diagnosis can be made if at least one of the following is present: discharge, a positive result on a leukocyte esterase test in firstvoid urine, or at least 10 white blood cells per high-power field in urine sediment. The primary pathogens associated with urethritis are Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Racial disparities in the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections persist in the United States, with rates of gonorrhea 40 times higher in black adolescent males than in white adolescent males. Recent studies have focused on identifying causes of nongonococcal urethritis and developing testing for atypical organisms, such as Mycoplasma genitalium and Ureaplasma species. Less common pathogens identified in patients with urethritis include Trichomonas species, adenovirus, and herpes simplex virus. History and examination findings can help distinguish urethritis from other urogenital syndromes, such as epididymitis, orchitis, and prostatitis. The goals of treatment include alleviating symptoms; preventing complications in the patient and his sexual partners; reducing the transmission of coinfections (particularly human immunodeficiency virus); identifying and treating the patient’s contacts; and encouraging behavioral changes that will reduce the risk of recurrence. The combination of azithromycin or doxycycline plus ceftriaxone or cefixime is considered first-line empiric therapy in patients with urethritis. Expedited partner treatment, which involves giving patients prescriptions for partners who have not been examined by the physician, is advocated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has been approved in many states. There is an association between urethritis and an increased human immunodeficiency virus concentration in semen.