Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of cervical Chlamydia trachomatis infection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in urban women undergoing routine cervical cytological screening and to investigate the relationship with age, cytology, smoking status and concurrent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Methods: A total of 996 women (age range 16–69 years) attending general practitioners for routine liquid-based cervical smear screening in the Dublin area were recruited in the study of prevalence of C. trachomatis. Informed consent was obtained and liquid-based cytology (LBC) specimens were sent for cytological screening. DNA was extracted from residual LBC and tested for C. trachomatis by PCR using the highly sensitive C. trachomatis plasmid (CTP) primers and for HPV infection using the MY09/11 primers directed to the HPV L1 gene in a multiplex format.
Results: The overall prevalence of C. trachomatis was 5.4%. Prevalence was highest in the <25 years age group (10%). Coinfection with HPV and C. trachomatis occurred in 1% of the screening population. A higher rate of smoking was observed in women positive for C. trachomatis, HPV infections or those with abnormal cervical cytology. Chlamydia trachomatis infection was not associated with abnormal cytology.
Conclusions: Women (5.4%) presenting for routine cervical screening are infected with C. trachomatis. Opportunistic screening for C. trachomatis from PreservCyt sample taken at the time of cervical cytological screening may be a possible strategy to screen for C. trachomatis in the Irish female population.