Background: There is minimal epidemiological and clinical information about the causes of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the country of Georgia. In general, the prevalence of STDs among military personnel has been estimated to be higher than their civilian counterparts. We undertook a study of the epidemiology of urethritis in the Georgian military in order to describe the distribution of common pathogens, identify risk factors for infection, and assess for gonococcal antimicrobial resistance.
Methods: The study site was the Military Hospital of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. Male patients referring to the outpatient department with signs and symptoms consistent with urethritis were offered participation in the study. After consent, a standard clinical and epidemiological questionnaire was conducted, and urine and urethral swabs were collected for molecular analysis and culture. Study data was analyzed using Epi Info.
Results: 30 patients were enrolled from August to September 2013. The mean age of participants was 26 years, 19 (66%) patients had higher education, 27 (90%) reported alcohol drinking before sexual contact, and 29 (97%) reported taking measures to protect themselves from infections. Over 43% of participants were previously treated for any STD. No patient received antibiotics or other self-treatment before presenting to clinic. The clinical diagnosis of 19 (63%) patients was bacterial urethritis. Five of them were suspected to having gonorrheal urethritis. However, all urethral swab cultures were negative.
Conclusions: This study is the first attempt to characterize the spectrum of STDs in Georgian military personnel. We are reporting preliminary data of this recently initiated study. The low rate of self-treatment before presentation provides a good opportunity to identify N. gonorrhoeae by culture analysis and define antibiotic resistance. Findings from this study will be useful not only for Georgian military personnel but also for the public health system of Georgia.