Fifty male patients with proctitis were examined and the clinical, microbiological, serological and proctological features compared with 51 known male homosexuals attending the genitourinary (GU) clinic at the same hospital. The homosexuals had a short history of bowel symptoms, minor sigmoidoscopic and histological changes on rectal biopsy and many positive serological markers of sexually transmitted infection. There was some evidence of sexually transmitted disease in the IBD patients and three were homosexuals. IgG antibodies were positive for chlamydia trachomatis (n = 10) and hepatitis A (n = 7). One had a positive screening test for syphilis. Stool examination and rectal swab cultures were positive in two patients for cryptosporidium and cytomegalovirus respectively. Gastroenterologists must be aware of the possibility of specific infection in IBD patients and a clinical history should include sexual preferences and practices. If homosexuality is admitted, specific infection must be sought and excluded.
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