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Prevalence and High Rate of Asymptomatic Infection of Chlamydia trachomatis in Male College Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets

Sutton, Thomas L. MD*; Martinko, Thomas MD*; Hale, Steven PA; Fairchok, Mary P. MD*

doi: 10.1097/01.OLQ.0000091136.14932.8B

Background Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis and risk factors for infection are not well described in male college students enrolled in the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

Goal The goal was to determine prevalence of C. trachomatis infection, percentage of asymptomatic infections, and risk factors for infection in a population of male college ROTC students.

Study Design We conducted a prevalence survey of C. trachomatis infection and risk factors using urine ligase chain reaction and questionnaire. Participants were 1443 ROTC male college cadets at Ft. Lewis, Washington, from June to July 2001.

Results Prevalence of C. trachomatis infection was 31 of 1252 (2.48%); 93.6% of the infections were asymptomatic. Black race, exposure to a partner with a prior sexually transmitted disease, and self-reported symptoms were significant risk factors.

Conclusions The prominence of asymptomatic infection in a male population with comparatively low prevalence suggests that risk factor rather than clinically based screening could be beneficial in this population.

A study of male ROTC cadets found a prevalence of 2.48% chlamydial infection; 93.6% were asymptomatic. Risk factors for infection included being black, having a partner with a previous sexually transmitted disease, and self-reported symptoms.

*Department of Pediatrics, Madigan Army Medical Center, and the Department of Preventive Medicine, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington

The authors thank Troy Patience for his statistical assistance, Jack Burley for his assistance in contact tracing coordination, and SPC Angela Jorgensen for her assistance in data acquisition.

Research support and funding provided by the Washington State Department of Health, who conducted the LCR tests.

Correspondence: Mary P. Fairchok, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA 98431. E-mail:

Received for publication May 30, 2003,

revised June 27, 2003, and accepted July 22, 2003.

© Copyright 2003 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association