Objective: To estimate the cost effectiveness of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) screening of young women visiting general practitioners.
Design: Economic model analysis.
Methods: Data on the health care needs for CT complications were derived from various sources; costing was done using estimated cost prices, charges and the friction cost method; epidemiological data were derived from a pilot study among 22 general practices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The analyses were carried out assuming screening with ligase chain reaction test of a urine sample and treatment of identified cases of infection with single-dose azitromycin. The model intervention consisted of screening all heterosexually active women aged 15-19, 15-24, 15-29, or 15-34 years (strategies 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively). Cost effectiveness was presented in net direct and indirect costs per woman cured and per major outcome averted (pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, infertility and pneumonia of newborns).
Results: The first two strategies were cost saving. For the third strategy net costs per woman cured and per major outcome averted were almost 110.- Dutch guilders (DFL) and over DFL 300, respectively. The last strategy costs over DFL 320 per woman cured and over DFL 910 per major outcome averted. The cost effectiveness was sensitive to the assumed probability of progression of CT infection to PID.
Conclusion: Universal implementation of the screening programme investigated in Amsterdam for women aged 15-24 years would result in approximately equal savings and costs. Screening of all 15-29-year-old women would require a net investment of DFL 350,000.