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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5758387, 17 pages
Review Article

Extragenital Infections Caused by Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae: A Review of the Literature

1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA
2Department of Pathology, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903, USA

Received 31 December 2015; Revised 12 April 2016; Accepted 20 April 2016

Academic Editor: Per Anders Mardh

Copyright © 2016 Philip A. Chan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the United States, sexually transmitted diseases due to Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae continue to be a major public health burden. Screening of extragenital sites including the oropharynx and rectum is an emerging practice based on recent studies highlighting the prevalence of infection at these sites. We reviewed studies reporting the prevalence of extragenital infections in women, men who have sex with men (MSM), and men who have sex only with women (MSW), including distribution by anatomical site. Among women, prevalence was found to be 0.6–35.8% for rectal gonorrhea (median reported prevalence 1.9%), 0–29.6% for pharyngeal gonorrhea (median 2.1%), 2.0–77.3% for rectal chlamydia (median 8.7%), and 0.2–3.2% for pharyngeal chlamydia (median 1.7%). Among MSM, prevalence was found to be 0.2–24.0% for rectal gonorrhea (median 5.9%), 0.5–16.5% for pharyngeal gonorrhea (median 4.6%), 2.1–23.0% for rectal chlamydia (median 8.9%), and 0–3.6% for pharyngeal chlamydia (median 1.7%). Among MSW, the prevalence was found to be 0–5.7% for rectal gonorrhea (median 3.4%), 0.4–15.5% for pharyngeal gonorrhea (median 2.2%), 0–11.8% for rectal chlamydia (median 7.7%), and 0–22.0% for pharyngeal chlamydia (median 1.6%). Extragenital infections are often asymptomatic and found in the absence of reported risk behaviors, such as receptive anal and oral intercourse. We discuss current clinical recommendations and future directions for research.