Non-medical approach to screening young men and women for chlamydia trachomatis
The aims of this PhD study were to assess the feasibility of accessing non-medical settings within which to offer chlamydia screening, to ascertain the knowledge of chlamydia and young men’s and women’s views towards non-medical screening, and to assess relative willingness to be screened for chlamydia by young men and women. Results: Eighty-four percent of age eligible users approached participated in education, health and fitness and workplace settings (n=126, n=133 and n=104, respectively). Of all sexually active people 113 (32%) were willing to be tested for chlamydia in non-medical settings. Uptake of testing was highest in the health and fitness setting (50% uptake for both women and men compared with 20% in education and 30% in workplace settings). In each setting young men were more willing than women to accept the offer of a chlamydia test. Overall, 40% of men approached provided a sample compared with 27% of all women. Disease prevalence was 4.4% (4.9% in men; 3.8% in women). Interview data suggests young men’s willingness to be tested for chlamydia in non-medical settings is due to convenience and raised awareness of the largely asymptomatic nature of chlamydia infection. Whilst 94% of men screened had never been tested for chlamydia before, one in three young women screened had previous screening experience. Women’s lower uptake of screening was due to concerns about the public nature of the settings leading to stigma. Conclusions: Increasing opportunities for the take-up of screening in non-medical settings could be an effective approach to reaching young men and have a significant impact on the incidence and prevalence of this easily treated STI, thereby reducing the future burden of unwanted reproductive health sequelae.