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Study Strengthens Evidence for Mycoplasma genitalium As STI

Prevalence of 1.2 and 1.3 percent in sexually-experienced men and women aged 16 to 44 years

TUESDAY, Dec. 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is prevalent in more than 1 percent of the sexually-experienced British population, with no infections detected in those reporting no previous sexual experience, according to a study published online Nov. 3 in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Pam Sonnenberg, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues conducted the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in 2010 to 2012 to examine MG prevalence. They tested urine from 4,507 sexually-experienced participants, aged 16 to 44 years, for MG.

The researchers found that the prevalence of MG was 1.2 and 1.3 percent in men and women, respectively. No MG was detected in those who had not had sex, or who only reported oral sex. In men, there were no positive MG tests among those aged 16 to 19 years; prevalence peaked at 2.1 percent among those aged 25 to 34 years. In women, the highest prevalence (2.4 percent) was seen among those aged 16 to 19 years; prevalence decreased with age. The likelihood of testing positive for MG was increased for men of black ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio, 12.1). There was a strong correlation for MG with reporting sexual risk behaviors for both men and women (increasing number of total and new partners, as well as unsafe sex, in the past year). The likelihood of reporting post-coital bleeding was increased for women with MG (adjusted odds ratio, 5.8). Most men (94.4 percent) and women (56.2 percent) with MG did not report any symptoms of sexually transmitted infection.

“This study strengthens evidence that MG is an STI,” the authors write.

HologicGenProbe donated the research kits for MG detection and performed some confirmatory testing; one author disclosed receiving a patent for the MG detection assay based on MG219 gene.

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