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J Infect Dis. 2013 Sep;208(6):969-77. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit275. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

Multilocus sequence typing of Chlamydia trachomatis among men who have sex with men reveals cocirculating strains not associated with specific subpopulations.

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Public Health Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Previous studies identified specific Chlamydia trachomatis strains circulating among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study investigates whether distinct C. trachomatis strains circulate among subpopulations within the MSM community.


Participants were recruited at the sexually transmitted infection clinic of the Public Health Service of Amsterdam from 2008 to 2009. C. trachomatis samples were typed using multilocus sequence typing. Epidemiological and clinical data were derived from questionnaires and patient records.


Typing of 277 samples from 260 MSM identified distinct C. trachomatis strains circulating concurrently over time. Men with lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)-inducing strains were more likely to be infected with human immunodeficiency virus, more often had a history of STI, and had a higher frequency of risky sexual behavior. No such associations were found for non-LGV-inducing strains. MSM infected with heterosexual-associated strains were often younger (P = .04) and more often reported sex with women (P = .03), compared with men infected with MSM-associated strains.


With the exception of LGV-inducing strains, no evidence was found that different C. trachomatis strains circulated in distinct subpopulations of MSM. This indicates that no separate transmission networks for C. trachomatis among MSM existed. However, younger MSM and bisexuals were more often infected with heterosexual-associated C. trachomatis strains.


Chlamydia trachomatis; HIV; cluster analysis; epidemiology; high-resolution genotyping; lymphogranuloma venereum; men who have sex with men

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