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RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Re-testing for chlamydia at sexual health services in Australia, 2004–08

Rebecca Guy A I , Handan Wand A , Neil Franklin A , Christopher K. Fairley B C , Marcus Y. Chen B , Catherine C. O’Connor D , Lewis Marshall E , Andrew E. Grulich A , John M. Kaldor A , Margaret Hellard F , Basil Donovan A G and on behalf of the ACCESS Collaboration H
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2034, Australia.

B Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Melbourne, Australia.

C School of Population Health University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic. 3053, Australia.

D Sexual Health Service, Community Health, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

E Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, WA 6869, Australia.

F Centre for Population Health, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Vic. 3181, Australia.

G Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia.

H See Box 1.

I Corresponding author. Email: Rguy@nchecr.unsw.edu.au

Sexual Health 8(2) 242-247 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH10086
Submitted: 11 July 2010  Accepted: 24 August 2010   Published: 18 May 2011

Abstract

Objective: To describe the frequency of the 3-month test for re-infection among sexual health service patients in Australia. Methods: We assessed the re-testing rates at 30–120 days after chlamydia infection in men who have sex with men (MSM), heterosexual males and females attending sexual health services across Australia between 2004 and 2008. A χ2-test was used to determine significant differences in re-testing rates according to demographic characteristics and trends over time. Results: In the 5-year period, 10 207 MSM, 28 530 heterosexual males and 31 190 heterosexual females were tested for chlamydia. Of those tested, 9057 (13.0%) were positive. The proportion of patients with chlamydia infection who were re-tested in 30–120 days was 8.6% in MSM, 11.9% in heterosexual males and 17.8% in heterosexual females. Among MSM, chlamydia re-testing rates were lower in men aged <30 years (8.4%) than ≥30 years (12.5%) (P = 0.04) and lower in travellers and migrants (2.9%) than non-travellers (9.9%) (P = 0.002). In heterosexual males, chlamydia re-testing rates were lower in men in regional and rural areas (10.5%) than metropolitan areas (13.5%) (P = 0.017). There was no increasing trend in re-testing rates between 2004 and 2008 (P = 0.787). Of the patients re-tested, 44.1% of MSM were positive, 21.0% of heterosexual males and 16.1% of females. Discussion: The high chlamydia positivity at 30–120 days support recommendations that call for a 3-month test for re-infection following a positive test. The low re-testing rates highlight the need for innovative strategies to increase re-testing.

Additional keywords: re-infection, repeat testing, sexual health clinics.


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