Test-of-Cure After Treatment of Pharyngeal Gonorrhea in Durham, North Carolina, 2021-2022.



In December 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its treatment guidelines for gonococcal infection and, for the first time, recommended universal test-of-cure for all individuals treated for pharyngeal gonorrhea. After the release of these guidelines, data are lacking on rates of return for the test-of-cure, particularly in populations other than men who have sex with men.


We analyzed the demographic characteristics, clinical characteristics, rate of return for the recommended test-of-cure, and percent positivity for Neisseria gonorrhoeae on repeat pharyngeal specimens at a local public health department in Durham, NC.


Of 101 individuals treated for pharyngeal gonorrhea between March 2021 and April 2022, 54.5% were men, 71.2% Black or African American, and 58.4% between the ages of 20 and 29 years. Most identified as either women who have sex with men (38.6%), men who have sex with men (24.8%), or men who have sex with women (22.8%). Of these individuals, 41 (40.6%) returned for a test-of-cure, with LGBTQ+ individuals more likely to return than men who have sex with women and women who have sex with men. Of those who returned for the test-of-cure, 4.9% of pharyngeal samples were equivocal and 2.4% positive for N. gonorrhoeae by nucleic acid amplification testing, likely reflecting false-positive tests.


Despite recommendations to perform a test-of-cure 7 to 14 days after treatment of pharyngeal gonorrhea, rates of return continue to be low. Alternative strategies should be investigated to increase test-of-cure rates.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Jenks, Jeffrey D, Lizeth Hester, Emily Ryan, Candy Stancil, Quinn Hauser, John-Paul Zitta, Marissa Mortiboy, Malkia Rayner, et al. (2022). Test-of-Cure After Treatment of Pharyngeal Gonorrhea in Durham, North Carolina, 2021-2022. Sexually transmitted diseases, 49(10). pp. 677–681. 10.1097/olq.0000000000001679 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28596.

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Jeffrey Daniel Jenks

Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine

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