Transmission of Chlamydia trachomatis through sexual partnerships: a comparison between three individual-based models and empirical data

J R Soc Interface. 2012 Jan 7;9(66):136-46. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0131. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in many developed countries. The highest prevalence rates are found among young adults who have frequent partner change rates. Three published individual-based models have incorporated a detailed description of age-specific sexual behaviour in order to quantify the transmission of C. trachomatis in the population and to assess the impact of screening interventions. Owing to varying assumptions about sexual partnership formation and dissolution and the great uncertainty about critical parameters, such models show conflicting results about the impact of preventive interventions. Here, we perform a detailed evaluation of these models by comparing the partnership formation and dissolution dynamics with data from Natsal 2000, a population-based probability sample survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain. The data also allow us to describe the dispersion of C. trachomatis infections as a function of sexual behaviour, using the Gini coefficient. We suggest that the Gini coefficient is a useful measure for calibrating infectious disease models that include risk structure and highlight the need to estimate this measure for other STIs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / transmission*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Partners