A longitudinal study to investigate previous Chlamydia trachomatis infection as a risk factor for subsequent anorectal infection in men who have sex with men (MSM) and women visiting STI clinics in the Netherlands

J. Leenen*, G. A. F. S. van Liere, C. J. P. A. Hoebe, A. A. Hogewoning, H. J. C. de Vries, N. H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although anorectal Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections are frequently diagnosed in men who have sex with men (MSM) and women, the reason for this infection often remains unexplained, as anal sex is not always reported. Oropharyngeal infections inoculating the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may contribute to anorectal-CT infections, as evidence in animals suggests that chlamydia bacteria undergo GI passage; however, no evidence exists in humans. Longitudinal patient clinic-registry data from MSM (n = 17 125) and women (n = 4120) from two Dutch sexually transmitted infection clinics were analysed. When adjusting for confounding socio-demographics, co-infections and risk behaviour, previous (from 3 weeks up to 24 months) oropharyngeal CT was not a risk factor for subsequent anorectal CT in women (odds ratio (OR) 0.46; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18-1.18; P = 0.11) and MSM (OR 1.33; 95% CI 0.86-2.07; P = 0.204). Despite the large dataset, the numbers did not allow for the estimation of risk in specific subgroups of interest. The role of the GI tract cannot be excluded with this epidemiological study, but the impact of preceding oropharyngeal CT on anorectal-CT infection is likely limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Anorectal
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • gastrointestinal tract
  • oropharyngeal

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