Objectives: To determine the etiology of genital ulcer disease (GUD) among patients attending sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics in Pune, India, and to examine the relationship to HIV infection and compare the clinical diagnosis of GUD with the results of a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (M-PCR) assay for Treponema pallidum, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and Hemophilus ducreyi infection. Methods: Between June 20, 1994, and September 26, 1994, 302 patients with a genital ulcer were evaluated. Clinical etiology of GUD was based on physical appearance and microbiologic evaluations which included darkfield microscopy and serology for syphilis. Swabs of each genital ulcer were tested for HSV antigen by enzyme immunoassay (Herpchek; Dupont, Wilmington, DE) and processed in a multiplex PCR assay (M- PCR; Roche, Branchburg, NJ) for simultaneous detection of HSV, Treponema pallidum, and Hemophilus ducreyi. Results: Two hundred seventy-seven men and 25 women with a median age of 25 were evaluated. The seroprevalence of HIV was 22.2%. The etiology of GUD as determined by M-PCR was HSV (26%), H. ducreyi (23%), T. pallidum (10%), and multiple infections (7%); no etiology was identified in 34%. HIV seroprevalence was higher among those patients positive for HSV compared with other etiologies (OR = 2.1, CI: 1.2-3.7; p = 0.01). When compared with M-PCR, the Herpchek test was 68.5% sensitive and 99.5% specific. Darkfield detection for T. pallidum was 39% sensitive and 82% specific, in contrast to rapid plasma reagin and fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption test, which was 66% sensitive and 90% specific. Clinical diagnosis alone or in combination with basic laboratory tests showed poor agreement with M-PCR. Conclusions: The etiology of GUD among STD patients in India is multifactorial with a predominance of herpes and chancroid infections. Herpes was more common among HIV-positive individuals, possibly reflecting underlying immunosuppression. These data demonstrate that clinical diagnosis is not dependable for identification of GUD etiology especially in HIV seropositive cases. In areas where diagnostic tests are limited, a syndromic approach using antibiotics directed against both syphilis and chancroid, and where prevalent, lymphogranuloma venereum and donovanosis is recommended for patients with GUD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases