We evaluated the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and infertility in women with a previous Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) diagnosis compared with women who tested negative for CT and CT untested women, considering both targeted and incidental (ie, prescribed for another indication) use of CT-effective antibiotics.
This was a retrospective study of women aged 12–25 years at start of follow-up within the Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD database linked to index of multiple deprivation quintiles, 2000–2013. CT test status and antibiotic use were determined in a time-dependent manner. Risk of PID, ectopic pregnancy, or female infertility were evaluated using of Cox proportional hazard models.
We studied 857 324 women, contributing 6 457 060 person-years. Compared with women who tested CT-negative, women who tested CT-positive had an increased risk of PID (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.01–2.79), ectopic pregnancy (aHR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.38–2.54), and infertility (aHR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.27–2.68). The PID risk was higher for women with 2 or more positive CT tests than those with 1 positive test. PID risk increased with the number of previous antibiotic prescriptions, regardless of CT test status.
We showed an association between CT-positive tests and 3 adverse reproductive health outcomes. Moreover, this risk increased with repeat CT infections. CT-effective antibiotic use showed no decreased risks of subsequent PID regardless of CT history. Our results confirm the reproductive health burden of CT, which requires adequate public health interventions.