Management of Chlamydia trachomatis genital tract infection: screening and treatment challenges
Brandie D Taylor, Catherine L Haggerty
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Epidemiology, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Abstract: Chlamydia trachomatis is a prevalent sexually transmitted infection that can lead to serious reproductive morbidity. Management and control of C. trachomatis is a challenge, largely due to its asymptomatic nature and our incomplete understanding of its natural history. Although chlamydia screening programs have been implemented worldwide, several countries have observed increasing rates of reported chlamydia cases. We reviewed the literature relating to the long-term complications of C. trachomatis, as well as screening strategies, treatment, and prevention strategies for reducing chlamydia in the population. Articles from 1950–2010 were identified through a Medline search using the keyword “Chlamydia trachomatis” combined with “screening”, “pelvic inflammatory disease”, “endometritis”, “salpingitis”, “infertility”, "ectopic pregnancy”, “urethritis”, “epididymitis”, “proctitis”, “prostatitis”, “reinfection”, “cost-effectiveness”, “treatment”, “vaccines”, or “prevention”. Progression of C. trachomatis varies, and recurrent infections are common. Currently, there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of chlamydia screening. Higher quality studies are needed to determine the efficacy of more frequent screening, on a broader range of sequelae, including infertility and ectopic pregnancy, in addition to pelvic inflammatory disease. Studies should focus on delineating the natural history of recurrent infections, paying particular attention to treatment failures. Furthermore, alternatives to screening, such as vaccines, should continue to be explored.
Keywords: Chlamydia trachomatis, sexually transmitted disease, chlamydia screening, chlamydia treatment
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