A Brief Review of Viral and Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Colorectal Practice



Context Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a common source of presentation to colorectal surgeons. Clinicians need to remain mindful of the possibility of STDs when faced with atypical clinical presentations. This article aims to provide surgeons with a synopsis of common pathogens, their clinical presentations, diagnostic investigations and treatment regimens. Evidence Acquisition The most common bacterial pathogens include Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhea with synchronous infections at presentation occurring frequently. Patients often present with proctitis. Gonorrhea patients can also experience bloody purulent perianal discharge. Less common bacterial pathogens include syphilis, chancroid and donovanosis. The commonest STD worldwide remains human papillomavirus. Given its vast array of subtypes its manifestations include benign hyperproliferative lesions like perianal warts and extend to anal intraepithelial neoplasia and squamous cell carcinoma. Other important viral infections of the anorectum include human immunodeficiency virus and subsequent acquired immune deficiency disease as well as herpes simplex virus and molluscum contangiosum. Results Debate exists whether the increasing incidence of STDs affecting the anorectum reported in western literature represents a real increase or a reflection of greater patient and clinician recognition and reporting. Conclusions Regardless, a broad understanding of common bacterial and viral pathogens remains important part of modern colorectal practice. Remaining mindful of the manifestations of these common pathogens, options for diagnosis and management are important in disease control to limit the impact of these pathogens across the wider community.