To assess the current chlamydia testing practices of Victorian general practitioners (GPs).
GPs were randomly selected from the Australasian Medical Publishing Company's national database of medical practitioners and mailed a letter of invitation asking them to complete a postal survey. Up to three postal reminders were sent to non-responders.
Of 421 eligible GPs, 252 (60%) returned a completed survey; 22.9% (95% CI: 17.8%, 28.6%) reported testing at least some asymptomatic patients for chlamydia each week and 26.8% (95% CI: 21.4%, 32.7%) reported that they presumptively treated patients for chlamydia without testing them at least half the time. The majority knew the appropriate specimens for diagnosing chlamydia, but 6-8% thought blood and 6% indicated that the Pap smear could be used to reliably diagnose chlamydia infection.
These findings have implications for the future chlamydia screening pilot program in Australia and indicate that a comprehensive education program will be necessary to inform GPs and equip them with the skills to appropriately test for chlamydia in their practice.