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Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a major cause of illness, and its association with history of past urinary tract infections is unclear. We surveyed a racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, community-based sample of adults aged 30-79 years in Boston, MA. This report gives estimates from the 2,301 men in the BACH survey: 700 black, 766 Hispanic and 835 white. Symptoms of chronic prostatitis--any perineal and/or ejaculatory pain and a pain score of > or =4--were derived from the NIH Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index and were used to identify men with symptoms suggesting CP/CPPS. The overall prevalence of symptoms suggestive of CP/CPPS is 6.3%. The number of urinary tract infections, particularly >3, was associated with symptoms suggestive of CP/CPPS (P < 0.01). There is a strong association between current symptoms of CP/CPPS and a history of urinary tract infections, particularly of multiple infections. The causality between chronic UTIs and CP/CPPS needs to be clarified by further study.