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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Community and clinic-based screening for curable sexually transmissible infections in a high prevalence setting in Australia: a retrospective longitudinal analysis of clinical service data from 2006 to 2009

Bronwyn Silver A B H , John M. Kaldor B , Alice Rumbold A C , James Ward D , Kirsty Smith B , Amalie Dyda B , Nathan Ryder E F , Teem-Wing Yip E G , Jiunn-Yih Su E and Rebecca J. Guy B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Epidemiology and Health Systems Division, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, PO Box 41096 Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia.

B The Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia (University of New South Wales), Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

C Robinson Research Institute, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

D South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, PO Box 11060, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

E Centre for Disease Control, Department of Health, PO Box 40596, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia.

F School of Medicine and Public Health, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

G Northern Territory Clinical School, Flinders University, PO Box 4066, Alice Springs, NT 0870, Australia.

H Corresponding author. Email: bronwyn.silver@internode.on.net

Sexual Health 13(2) 140-147 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH15077
Submitted: 19 April 2015  Accepted: 15 October 2015   Published: 18 December 2015

Abstract

Background: In response to the high prevalence of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in many central Australian Aboriginal communities, a community-wide screening program was implemented to supplement routine primary health care (PHC) clinic testing. The uptake and outcomes of these two approaches were compared. Methods: Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) community and clinic screening data for Aboriginal people aged 15–34 years, 2006–2009, were used. Regression analyses assessed predictors of the first test occurring in the community screen, positivity and repeat testing. Results: A total of 2792 individuals had 9402 tests (median: four per person) over 4 years. Approximately half of the individuals (54%) were tested in the community and clinic approaches combined, 29% (n = 806) in the community screen only and 18% (n = 490) in the clinic only. Having the first test in a community screen was associated with being male and being aged 15–19 years. There was no difference between community and clinic approaches in CT or NG positivity at first test. More than half (55%) of individuals had a repeat test within 2–15 months and of these, 52% accessed different approaches at each test. The only independent predictor of repeat testing was being 15–19 years. Conclusions: STI screening is an important PHC activity and the findings highlight the need for further support for clinics to reach young people. The community screen approach was shown to be a useful complementary approach; however, cost and sustainability need to be considered.

Additional keywords: Aboriginal Australians, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, screening, STI.


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