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Chlamydia testing and retesting patterns at family planning clinics in Australia.

Bowring AL, Goller JL, Gouillou M, Harvey C, Bateson D, McNamee K, Read C, Boyle D, Jordan L, Wardle R, Stephens A, Donovan B, Guy R, Hellard M

  • Journal Sexual health

  • Published 12 Jul 2013

  • Volume 10

  • ISSUE 1

  • Pagination 74-81

  • DOI 10.1071/SH11187


National guidelines recommend opportunistic chlamydia screening of sexually active 16- to 29-year-olds and encourage retesting 3-12 months after a diagnosed chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) infection. We assessed chlamydia testing patterns at five Australian family planning clinics (FPCs).

Using routine clinic data from 16- to 29-year-olds, we calculated chlamydia testing and positivity rates in 2008-2009. Reattendance, retesting and positivity rates at retesting within 1.5-4 and 1.5-12 months of a positive result were calculated.

Over 2 years, 13?690 individuals aged 16-29 years attended five FPCs (93% female). In 2008, 3159 females (41.4%,) and 263 males (57.0%) were tested for chlamydia; positivity was 8% and 19%, respectively. In 2009, 3178 females (39.6%) and 295 males (57.2%) were tested; positivity was 8% and 23%, respectively. Of 7637 females attending in 2008, 38% also attended in 2009, of which 20% were tested both years. Within 1.5-4 months of a positive test, 83 (31.1%) females reattended; the retesting rate was 13% and 12% retested positive. Within 1.5-12 months of a positive test, 96 (57.5%) females reattended; the retesting rate was 36% and 13% retested positive.

Approximately 40% of young people attending FPCs were tested for chlamydia but a smaller proportion were tested annually or were retested following chlamydia infection. High positivity rates emphasise that FPCs see a high-risk population. To maximise testing opportunities, clinical prompts, patient reminder systems and non-clinic testing strategies may be needed.