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Risk factors for gonorrhoea in young heterosexual people in Perth (Part 1)



Project status


Ethics approval

Curtin University’s Human Research Ethics Committee approved this study (HRE2018-0017). Approval from WA Health is pending.


Dr Roanna Lobo (Curtin University), Ms Josephine Shearer (Curtin University).

Brief overview

This research is the first component of a collaborative three-part study involving SiREN, the Kirby Institute and the University of Western Australia. The research aims to characterise the recent outbreak of gonorrhoea amongst young heterosexual people in Perth and determine if certain risk factors are more likely in cases than controls.

Part one will involve in-depth interviews with up to 20 young adults aged 18-34 years to determine the context of their sexual interactions and lifestyles. The interview data are expected to provide further insights related to the potential drivers of gonorrhoea infection. The results will inform the second stage of the research study to be conducted by the Kirby Institute. This involves a prospective case-control study (200 cases, 200 controls) to quantitatively identify Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection risk factors in young heterosexual adults residing in the Perth metropolitan area. Both components will be informed by a third research component, rapid genotyping, to assess if the risk factors relate to being in a cluster. The genotyping study will be conducted by the University of Western Australia. Collectively this information will be used to inform the public health response to controlling gonorrhoea in young heterosexuals in Perth.


This project is funded by the Western Australian Department of Health (WA Health).

SiREN’s role

SiREN is conducting part one of this three-part study.

Project outputs and impacts

As a whole, this three-part study has four objectives:

  1. To interview young people with gonorrhoea to understand the potential drivers and context related to gonorrhoea infection
  2. To quantify if these risk factors are more likely in cases than controls
  3. To evaluate the association between the risk factors and gonorrhoea cases who are part of a cluster identified by genotyping
  4. To provide new information on modifiable risk factors and priority populations for potential public health action.