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Sexually Transmitted Infections in Newly Arrived Refugees: Is Routine Screening for Neisseria gonorrheae and Chlamydia trachomatis Infection Indicated?

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  • Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Division of Global Migrations and Quarantine, and National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control, Minnesota Department of Health, Saint Paul, Minnesota
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More than 340 million cases of bacterial and protozoal sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur annually. Approximately 70,000 refugees arrive in the United States on a yearly basis. Refugees are a particularly disenfranchised and vulnerable population. The prevalence of Chlamydia and gonorrhea in refugee populations has not been described, and the utility of routine screening is unknown. We performed a descriptive evaluation of 25,779 refugees who completed a screening medical examination in Minnesota during 2003–2010. A total of 18,516 (72%) refugees were tested for at least one STI: 183 (1.1%) of 17,235 were seropositive for syphilis, 15 (0.6%) of 2,512 were positive for Chlamydia, 5 (0.2%) of 2,403 were positive for gonorrhea, 136 (2.0%) of 6,765 were positive for human immunodeficiency virus, and 6 (0.1%) of 5,873 were positive for multiple STIs. Overall prevalence of Chlamydia (0.6%) and gonorrhea (0.2%) infection was low, which indicated that routine screening may not be indicated. However, further research on this subject is encouraged.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to William M. Stauffer, Department of Medicine Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware Street SE, Mayo D407, MMC 250, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: stauf005@umn.edu

Authors' addresses: William M. Stauffer and Robyn Kaiser, Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases and International Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, E-mails: stauf005@umn.edu and kaise122@umn.edu. John Painter and Michelle Weinberg, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: bzp3@cdc.gov and mweinberg@cdc.gov. Blain Mamo, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control, Minnesota Department of Health, 625 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN, E-mail: blain.mamo@state.mn.us. Stuart Berman, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: mb1@cdc.gov.

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