Results of a program to test women for rectal chlamydia and gonorrhea

Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Apr;115(4):753-759. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181d444f6.


Objective: To analyze whether rectal testing among women increased chlamydia and gonorrhea case-finding and whether reported receptive anal intercourse was a risk factor for rectal infection.

Methods: From March 2007 to August 2008, women receiving pelvic examinations at the San Francisco sexually transmitted disease clinic were tested for rectal gonorrhea and chlamydia by using a transcription-mediated amplification assay. Results of testing and clinical and demographic data were analyzed using a cross-sectional study design.

Results: Of 1,308 women with both rectal and vaginal tests, test results were positive for 79 patients (6.0%) for rectal chlamydia or gonorrhea and 88 patients (6.7%) for genital chlamydia or gonorrhea. Test results were positive for 13 patients (1.0%) at the rectum only, increasing detection from 88 to 101 patients (14.8%; 95% confidence interval 8.1-23.9). No correlation existed between reported anal sex and rectal chlamydia (P=.74); however, 50% of women with rectal gonorrhea reported anal sex compared with 21% of women without rectal gonorrhea (P=.002).

Conclusion: Sexually transmitted disease clinics might improve chlamydia and gonorrhea case-finding through rectal testing of women, but more study is needed to determine the effects of finding and treating such infections. Reporting anal intercourse did not predict rectal chlamydial infection among women tested at both the rectum and the vagina.

Level of evidence: II.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Rectal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Rectum / microbiology
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Young Adult