Urine-based screening for Chlamydia trachomatis in men attending sexually transmitted disease clinics

Sex Transm Dis. 2001 Apr;28(4):219-25. doi: 10.1097/00007435-200104000-00006.


Background: Nucleic acid-amplified tests for Chlamydia trachomatis are accurate but costly. Screening strategies for asymptomatic men are needed.

Goal: To assess C trachomatis screening strategies for asymptomatic males.

Study design: Men attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic were tested for C trachomatis with ligase chain reaction and culture, and for urethral inflammation with urine leukocyte esterase and urethral Gram stain.

Results: C trachomatis prevalence was 5.5% among 1,625 asymptomatic men. Ligase chain reaction increased detection by 49% among men without urethral inflammation. An age of younger than 25 years and urethral inflammation were associated with positive ligase chain reaction results. The negative predictive value of urine leukocyte esterase was highest among older men, but urethral Gram stain was equally sensitive in predicting infection regardless of age. An age of younger than 30 years or urethral inflammation identified the highest proportion of infections (92%) and reduced the percentage of men screened by 43%.

Conclusions: Urine ligase chain reaction increased C trachomatis detection, particularly among men without urethral inflammation. Testing all asymptomatic men younger than 30 years is optimal, whereas negative urine leukocyte esterase or urethral Gram stain results in men 30 years or older support no testing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / urine
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / urine
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Gentian Violet
  • Humans
  • Ligase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Phenazines
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Urethra / microbiology
  • Urethritis / microbiology


  • Gram's stain
  • Phenazines
  • leukocyte esterase
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • Gentian Violet