The Indian journal of medical research

Need for specific & routine strategy for the diagnosis of genital chlamydial infection among patients with sexually transmitted diseases in India.

PMID 14700349


With increasing burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in India, documentation on the epidemiology of genital chlamydial infections in high-risk patients with sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is of significant public health value. Specific diagnosis is essential to prevent the morbidity due to the chlamydial infection and to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV infection. The present study was undertaken to analyse the usefulness of culture and antigen detection by direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test for assessing the rate of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in symptomatic patients and feasibility of these tests for routine adoption in Indian setting. Clinically diagnosed patients of both sex (n=143) attending the Institute of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Government General Hospital, Chennai who consented for the study, were enrolled. Clinical and demographic details were recorded on a stratified proforma. Genital swab specimens collected from them were subjected for culture using McCoy cell line and for antigen detection by DFA testing. C. trachomatis was isolated in 27 of the total 143 patients (18.9%). Culture positivity was seen in 11 of the 63 (17.5%) males and in 16 of 80 (20%) females. DFA detected C. trachomatis specific antigen in 35 patients (24.5%); 15 (23.8%) males and 20 (25%) females. The rate of C. trachomatis diagnosis increased to 25.2 per cent by adopting both the methods as against 18.9 per cent by culture only and 24.5 per cent by DFA only. No association of C. trachomatis infection with any predictable genitourinary symptom (s), was seen. The findings show a high infection rate for C. trachomatis in symptomatic patients with STD. Clinical symptoms alone can be unreliable in specifically predicting infections with C. trachomatis. Specific diagnostic tests need to be recommended for routine inclusion in the STD diagnosis to facilitate risk reduction of HIV infection in STD patients.