OBJECTIVES: To investigate the efficacy of performing a pooling strategy of triple-anatomical site samples (pharyngeal, anorectal and urine samples) for simultaneous Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) nucleic acid amplification detection.
METHODS: A total of 117 specimen sets (pharyngeal, anorectal and urine) were collected from 98 men between 2014 and 2016. Double sampling of pharyngeal, anorectal and urine samples allowed for pooled and unpooled analyses using a multiplex Abbott Real Time CT/NG assay, together with confirmatory PCR testing in case of CT/NG positivity. Clinical and demographic data were analyzed.
RESULTS: The positivity rate for the triple-site pooled testing for CT and NG was 8.5% (10/117) and 6.8%, (8/117), respectively, compared to the single-site testing total positivity rate, which was 9.4% (11/117) and 4.3% (5/117) for CT and NG, respectively. Pooled analysis missed one CT-positive urine sample and one CT-positive anorectal sample could not be confirmed. In addition, less PCR inhibition was reported for the pooled sample (PS) testing and ERV-3 qPCR testing revealed ineffective sampling of self-collected anorectal swabs in two cases. No pharyngeal samples were positive for CT, nor were any urine samples positive for NG.
CONCLUSION: This small study showed that PS testing is a possible testing strategy for screening high-risk men who have sex with men attending pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) clinics. However, due to the low positivity rate of CT/NG in this study, larger evaluations are needed to confirm the effectiveness of CT/NG screening with multiple-site PS nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) screening practices.