The heterosexual partners of people with chlamydia have a high likelihood of being infected themselves, according to researchers.
In a study published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, both partners were infected with chlamydia in 61% of pairs in which at least one partner had the disease.
“The rate of concordant chlamydial infection in this study is broadly consistent or somewhat higher than those reported in previous, smaller partner studies,” researcher Sarah Huffam, MBBS, an infectious disease and sexual health physician at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre in in Victoria, Australia, and colleagues wrote.
The researchers conducted their study of 287 male-female pairs between January 2006 and March 2015 at Huffam’s sexual health center. A pair was included in the study if at least one partner tested positive for chlamydia at the center or within 30 days before visiting the center.
The researchers did not consider the length or exclusivity of sexual partnerships. Pairs in which the man reported sex with other men within the previous year were excluded.
The researchers found that among the 233 women with chlamydia, 76% of their male partners were also infected. Among infected women with cervicitis, 91% of their partners likewise had chlamydia. Men whose partners had taken azithromycin or doxycycline within 30 days were much less likely to become infected (7% and 25% infected, respectively).
Among the 235 men with chlamydia, 77% of their female partners also were infected. The researchers found no associations between male symptoms and signs of lower and upper genital chlamydia infection or recent antibiotic use and positive test results among their female partners.
Huffman and colleagues said their findings can add to an understanding of the true rate of chlamydia transmission among heterosexual partners.
“This study contributes additional data for the concordance of chlamydia within heterosexual partnerships, which helps improve the precision of the estimate for this parameter for mathematical modeling of chlamydia transmission,” they wrote. “Furthermore, the findings underscore the high likelihood of sexual partners of individuals with chlamydia being infected and therefore the importance of testing and appropriate management of the sexual partners of heterosexual men and women diagnosed with chlamydia.” – by Joe Green
Disclosure: Huffam reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.