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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

AUSTRALIA: Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Infections Linked to Pregnancy Complications


Rochdale Online (United Kingdom) (09.04.2013) Aids Weekly Plus

Researchers have found that chlamydia or gonorrhea infection prior to or during pregnancy results in increased risk of complication, such as stillbirth or unplanned premature birth. The researchers reviewed medical records of 354,217 women who gave birth to their first child between 1999 and 2008 in New South Wales, Australia, to determine whether chlamydia or gonorrhea infection before or during pregnancy affected the baby or the birth. The researchers linked birth records to state records on notifiable diseases, such as STDs. Of the 354,217 women, 3,658 (1 percent) had contracted at least one notifiable chlamydia infection before the birth, and the disease was diagnosed prior to conception in most of them (81 percent). Before the birth, gonorrhea was diagnosed in 196 women (0.6 percent), and 85 percent of these diagnoses were made before conception. Half of the participants diagnosed with gonorrhea had also been previously diagnosed with chlamydia. In total, 4 percent of the women had an unplanned premature birth, 12 percent had babies with low birth weight for the dates and 0.6 percent (2,234 babies) were stillborn. After allowing for factors such as age, social disadvantage, smoking and health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure that can increase complications of birth, women who had been previously infected with either chlamydia or gonorrhea were at higher risk of complications. Those who had a chlamydia infection were 17 percent more likely to have an unplanned premature birth and a 40 percent greater risk of a stillborn baby, while women who had been infected with gonorrhea had twice the risk of an unplanned premature birth. The risk of an unplanned premature birth was no different for women who were diagnosed more than a year before conception, those diagnosed a year prior to conception, and those diagnosed during pregnancy. The full report, “Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Infections and the Risk of Adverse Obstetric Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study,” is published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections (2013; doi:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051118).


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Information in this article was accurate in September 9, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.