BACKGROUND: Chlamydia trachomatis (C. trachomatis), an obligate intracellular bacterium, is the commonest infectious bacterial agent of sexual transmission throughout the world. It has been shown that the presence of this bacteria in the cervix represents a risk regarding HPV persistence and, thereafter, in developing cervical cancer (CC). Prevalence rates may vary from 2% to 17% in asymptomatic females, depending on the population being analysed. This study reports the identification of C. trachomatis in a cohort of 219 HPV-infected Colombian females.
METHODS: C. trachomatis infection frequency was determined during each of the study's follow-up visits; it was detected by amplifying the cryptic plasmid sequence by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using two sets of primers: KL5/KL6 and KL1/KL2. Infection was defined as a positive PCR result using either set of primers at any time during the study. Cox proportional risk models were used for evaluating the association between the appearance of infection and a group of independent variables.
RESULTS: Base line C. trachomatis infection frequency was 28% (n = 61). Most females infected by C. trachomatis were infected by multiple types of HPV (77.42%), greater prevalence occurring in females infected with HPV-16 (19.18%), followed by HPV-58 (17.81%). It was observed that females having had the most sexual partners (HR = 6.44: 1.59-26.05 95%CI) or infection with multiple types of HPV (HR = 2.85: 1.22-6.63 95%CI) had the greatest risk of developing C. trachomatis.
CONCLUSIONS: The study provides data regarding the epidemiology of C. trachomatis /HPV coinfection in different population groups of Colombian females and contributes towards understanding the natural history of C. trachomatis infection.