Purpose: To determine the prevalence and correlates of Chlamydia trachomatis in Canadian street youth.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of street youth between the ages of 15-24 years was conducted over a 9-month period in seven large urban centers across Canada. Youth were recruited through "drop-in" centers, outreach work, and mobile vans in each city. Information was collected through a nurse-administered questionnaire. Youth were asked to provide urine to test for chlamydia trachomatis by polymerase chain reaction. Separate logistic regression models were run for males and females controlling for age.
Results: The prevalence rate of chlamydia was 8.6% in 1355 youth (95% CI = (7.1%, 10.1%)). Higher prevalence rates were found in females than in males (10.9% vs. 7.3%, respectively) and in Aboriginal youth than in non-Aboriginal youth (13.7% vs. 6.6%, respectively). Four variables were associated with increased risk of chlamydia infection in females: Aboriginal status; self-perceived risk; having no permanent home; and having been in foster care. One predictor of chlamydia for males was having had a social worker.
Conclusions: A high prevalence of chlamydia was found in this vulnerable population in comparison to other Canadian youth. Having been in foster care and having had a social worker were found to have a strong association with chlamydia.