Harold Wiesenfeld, MD
Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Science, Division of Reproductive Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Infections of the female reproductive tract continue to put women at-risk for serious life-altering consequences. My research group is dedicated to advancing the care of women with or at-risk for these infections. Prevention and effective treatment of reproductive tract infections are key to a healthy reproductive life and beyond.
Harold Wiesenfeld, MD
Research in Brief
We are currently witnessing an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. Great strides have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of STDs and other reproductive tract infections, yet it is unfortunate that so many women continue to experience these infections and their devastating consequences. Research performed by Dr. Wiesenfeld and his research group focuses on the detection, treatment and prevention of STDs and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uncovering the epidemiology, microbiologic etiology and fertility impact of acute and subclinical PID. This work has demonstrated that women diagnosed with gonorrhea, chlamydia or bacterial vaginosis but who do not have clinical evidence of PID are at increased risk for infertility, and highlights the importance of STD control to optimize the fertility of women. In collaboration with Dr. Sharon Hillier, Dr. Wiesenfeld’s work has identified the role of anaerobic organisms in pelvic infections, and has demonstrated improved outcomes when women with PID receive antimicrobial therapy that effective targets anaerobic organisms. Earlier detection and treatment of STDs can prevent PID and infertility. Working towards this goal, Dr. Wiesenfeld’s ongoing research also includes implementation research evaluating novel strategies to improve STD screening. His early work demonstrated the utility of vaginal swabs to detect STDs, enabling STD screening without the need for an examination. Large projects are currently underway in UPMC primary care practices where screening strategies developed by Dr. Wiesenfeld and his colleagues are implemented at the point of care. Ultimately, the control of STDs hinges on the development of effective vaccines. Dr. Wiesenfeld and Dr. Hillier are working with colleagues at the University of North Carolina on vaccine development for Chlamydia trachomatis.
- Wiesenfeld HC, Heine RP, Rideout A, Macio I, DiBiasi F, Sweet RL. The vaginal introitus: a novel site for Chlamydia trachomatis testing in women. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;174:1542-6.
- Wiesenfeld HC, Lowry DL, Heine RP, Krohn MJ, Bittner H, Kellinger K, Schultz MA, Sweet RL. Self-collection of vaginal swabs for the detection of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis: Opportunity to encourage STD testing among adolescents. Sex Transm Dis 2001;28:321-5.
- Wiesenfeld HC, Hillier SL, Krohn MA, Amortegui AJ, Heine RP, Landers DV, Sweet RL. Lower genital tract infection and endometritis: Insight on subclinical pelvic inflammatory disease. Obstet Gynecol 2002;100:456-463
- Wiesenfeld HC, Hillier SL, Krohn MA, Landers DV, Sweet RL. Bacterial vaginosis is a strong predictor of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Clin Infect Dis 2003;36(5):663-668.
- Wiesenfeld HC, Hillier SL, Meyn LA, Amortegui AJ, Sweet RL. Subclinical pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Obstet Gynecol 2012;130(1):37-43
- Wiesenfeld HC. Screening for chlamydial infections in women. N Engl J Med 2017;376(8):765-7
- Wiesenfeld HC, Manhart LE. Mycoplasma genitalium in women: current knowledge and research priorities for this recently emerged pathogen. J Infect Dis 2017;216 (suppl 2):S389-95.
- Petrina MAB, Cosentino LA, Wiesenfeld HC, Darville T, Hillier SL. Susceptibility of endometrial isolates recovered from women with clinical pelvic inflammatory disease or histological endometritis to antimicrobial agents. Anaerobe 2019;56:61-65.