Spontaneous clearance of urogenital, anorectal and oropharyngeal Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae in women, MSM and heterosexual men visiting the STI clinic: a prospective cohort study

Genevieve A. F. S. van Liere*, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe, Jeanne A. M. C. Dirks, Petra F. G. Wolffs, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) infections can clear without treatment. Despite high prevalence of anorectal infections in men who have sex with men (MSM) and women, studies on anorectal clearance are scarce. Moreover it is unknown whether bacterial load affects urogenital/anorectal CT clearance. In this prospective cohort study, CT and NG clearance is assessed at three anatomical sites of men and women. Methods CT-positive and NG-positive MSM, heterosexual men and women >= 18 years of age visiting our STI clinic between 2011 and 2013 underwent a repeat test when returning for treatment (n=482). The primary outcome was clearance, defined as a positive nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) at screening-consultation, followed by a negative NAAT at treatment-consultation. Sociodemographics, sexual risk behaviour and CT bacterial load (inhouse quantitative PCR) were tested as determinants for clearance using multivariable logistic regression for CT and Fisher's exact test for NG. Results CT clearance was 9.1% (10/110) for urine, 6.8% (20/292) for vaginal swabs, 12.7% (8/63) for anorectal swabs (ie, 4.0% [1/25] in MSM and 18.4% [7/38] in women) and 57.1% (4/7) for oropharyngeal swabs. For NG this was 33.3% (2/6), 28.6% (2/7), 20.0% (2/10) and 27.3% (6/22), respectively. The number of days between tests (median 10, IQR 7-14) was not associated with clearance. Lower bacterial load at screening was the only predictor for CT clearance (urine mean 1.2 vs 2.6 log CT/mL, p=0.001; vaginal swabs mean 2.1 vs 5.2 log CT/mL p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalSexually Transmitted Infections
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • clearance
  • resolution
  • natural course
  • SEX

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