Background According to the WHO, Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial agent worldwide. The infection is most common among young women less than 25 years old; the symptoms are often mild or inexistent.
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis in women in Turin and to identify risk factors associated with this STI.
Methods This study was performed between January 2007 and December 2011, among sexually active women aged 14 to 65 years (mean 33 years) attending STI Centre of Sant’Anna Hospital in Turin, Italy. Every woman was submitted to a questionnaire aimed at collecting socio-demographic, behavioural and clinical information. Cervical specimens were tested with a real time qualitative PCR (Nanogen).
Chi square test and EpiInfo were used to identify associations between potential risk factors and Ct infection.
Results A total of 14071 women were included in the study. The overall prevalence of Ct was 2.8%.
The prevalence rate in the symptomatic and asymptomatic patients was 3.5% versus 2.2%; high prevalence rates were observed among women aged 14–24 years (9.9%; p < 0.001), reporting more than one partner in the previous six months (13.3%; p < 0.001), among foreign women compared to Italian women (3.7% vs 2.6%; p < 0.001). With regard to numbers of sexual partners lifetime, the prevalence rate for patients who had between 1 and 3 partners was 1.9% while in women with more than 3 partners was 4.1% (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, Ct was significantly associated with young age, more than 1 partner in the previous 6 months and use of barrier contraceptives.
Conclusion The value and risk factors highlighted can be compared with other studies. The high number of asymptomatic cases confirms the need to consider selective screening in order to reduce the spread of this STI and other secondary complications.
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- Risk factors