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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Do the characteristics of sexual health centre clients predict chlamydia infection sufficiently strongly to allow selective screening?

Jane Hocking A B D and Christopher K. Fairley B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, GPO Box 2284, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia.

B Sexual Health Unit, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.

C Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: hocking@burnet.edu.au

Sexual Health 2(3) 185-192 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH05011
Submitted: 8 March 2005  Accepted: 20 May 2005   Published: 20 September 2005

Abstract

Objectives: This study aimed to estimate chlamydia prevalence and risk factors for infection and to assess the performance of chlamydia-selective screening criteria among clients attending a large sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic. Methods: Computerised records for all attendances between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2003 were analysed. Chlamydia prevalence and risk factors for infection were determined for all new clients. The sensitivity and specificity of risk factors for chlamydia were assessed. Results: 2642 male and 2084 female new clients were tested for chlamydia with a prevalence of 7.3% (95% CI: 6.3%, 8.4%) among men and 3.9% (95% CI: 3.1%, 4.9%) among women. Screening heterosexual men based on a positive contact or symptoms of non-specific urethritis or any two of age < 25 years, 4+ partners last 12 months, inconsistent condom use or not presenting for an asymptomatic screen detected 88% of infections by screening 62%. Screening women based on a positive contact or injecting drug use or any two of age < 25 years, 2+ partners last 12 months or inconsistent condom use would detect 86% of infections by screening 57%. Conclusions: Selective screening could be used to more efficiently identify heterosexual men and women at risk of chlamydia.


Acknowledgements

JH was supported by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). The authors would like to thank Tim Kuo from the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre for extracting the data.


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