Background and objectives: Despite sharing common modes of transmission, characteristics of individuals infected with Chlamydia trachomatis differ in several respects from those with Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection. Further characterization of women at high risk for chlamydial infection is needed to deliver appropriate and effective preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic care to this population.
Goal of this study: The demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of women with laboratory confirmed chlamydia, gonorrhea, or coinfection were compared with those of control women who tested negative for both pathogens.
Study design: A random sample of 400 women in Manitoba, Canada, who had undergone testing for sexually transmitted diseases at a public health laboratory in 1988 were studied. After linkage with medical insurance and census databases, logistic regression analysis was used to compare age, ethnicity, urban status, and mean income (using postal codes) of women with gonorrhea alone, chlamydia alone, and coinfection, with the same data for women who tested negative for both organisms.
Results: Young age, North American Indian status, urban residence, and low mean income according to postal code were significantly associated with gonococcal and chlamydial infection in the study population, compared with women who tested negative for both infections. Young age, Indian status, and urban residence also were associated with gonorrhea infection alone. Only young age and Indian status were associated with chlamydial infection. Mean incomes of women with chlamydial infection alone and control subjects were higher than those of women with gonorrhea and gonorrhea and chlamydia coinfection.
Conclusions: Differences in the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of women with gonorrhea, chlamydia, and coinfection suggest the existence of multiple reservoirs of infection due to these agents in the study population. The preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic strategies of sexually transmitted disease control programs must be adapted to the individual needs of identified high-risk groups.