Rectal Chlamydia trachomatis infection in women. Is it overlooked?

Int J STD AIDS. 2010 Feb;21(2):93-5. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2008.008406. Epub 2009 Nov 16.


Screening for rectal chlamydia was not routinely offered in our department until we had a local outbreak of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) in men who have sex with men (MSM) in 2004/2005. We later decided to extend the screening to high-risk women (women who had receptive anal sex, contacts of gonorrhoea, women, with anorectal symptoms, women who had been sexually assaulted). A retrospective study of 152 women from whom 160 rectal chlamydia swabs were taken was carried out. Twenty (12.5%) swabs were positive, 19 of which were also positive at the cervix. All were non-LGV serovars. The groups at greatest risk were high-risk women aged less than 20 years and women with proven gonococcal infection where the prevalence was 22.6% and 30%, respectively. We conclude that rectal chlamydial infection in women may be common and further studies are needed to elucidate its importance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Prevalence
  • Proctitis / diagnosis
  • Proctitis / epidemiology
  • Proctitis / microbiology
  • Rectal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Rectal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rectal Diseases / microbiology*
  • Rectum / microbiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult