Check new STD testing guidance issued by CDC

If your facility provides comprehensive sexually transmitted disease care for men who have sex with men (MSM), be sure to incorporate new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding gonorrhea and chlamydia testing.

A new CDC analysis of rectal and pharyngeal Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) testing data from six gay-focused, community-based organizations indicate a large number of new cases.1 Rectal GC and CT test positivity rates were higher at sites using nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) (GC 5.4%, CT 8.9%). Pharyngeal GC was detected in 5.3% of NAATs.

By using nucleic acid amplification tests to detect rectal or pharyngeal chlamydia and gonorrhea, clinics might be able to detect thousands of infections among the MSM population that otherwise might not be diagnosed, advises the CDC. Such tests are not cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for the diagnosis of rectal or pharyngeal NG and CT infections. However, individual laboratories such as Laboratory Corp. of America ( and Quest Diagnostics ( have met regulatory standards and now offer such tests for the diagnosis of rectal and pharyngeal NG and CT infections, says the CDC.

The rectum and pharynx are the most common sites for GC and CT infection among MSM; such infections usually are asymptomatic and typically occur without concomitant urethral infection.2 The CDC recommends at least yearly screening for rectal GC and CT infection for MSM who had receptive anal intercourse during the preceding year, and it recommends at least yearly screening for pharyngeal GC infection for MSM who have participated in receptive oral intercourse during the preceding year.


  1. Klausner JD, Bernstein KT, Pandori M, et al. Clinic-based testing for rectal and pharyngeal Neisseria Gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia Trachomatis infections by community-based organizations — Five cities, United States, 2007. MMWR 2009; 58:716-719.
  2. Douglas JM. Dear Colleague. Letter. July 13, 2009. Accessed at