Background: Screening women for genital Chlamydia trachomatis at entry to military service provides an opportunity to reduce costs associated with sequelae of this infection. However, financial responsibility for screening may be debated. More than 50% of recruits return to civilian life within 2 years. The military and the civilian health care systems would both benefit from a screening program.
Objective: To assess the cost-effectiveness and relative cost savings to the military and civilian health sectors of three screening strategies for U.S. Army female recruits for C. trachomatis using urine ligase chain reaction: screening all recruits, screening recruits aged < or = 25 years, and no screening.
Methods: We applied a decision analytic model. Cost factors included screening, lost military training, morbid pelvic inflammatory disease, and other sequelae. Using a 5-year analytic horizon, we conducted analyses from military and civilian perspectives.
Results: Screening 10,000 female army recruits would cost 193,500 dollars and prevent 282 cases of sequelae, with a projected savings of 53,325 dollars to the military and 505,053 dollars to the civilian sector. From a military perspective, screening women aged < or = 25 years provided the highest cost savings. Screening all female recruits incurred an incremental cost of $1199 per sequela prevented. From a civilian perspective, screening all recruits offered the greatest cost savings.
Conclusions: Screening female Army recruits for C. trachomatis offers substantial savings in health care costs for both the military and civilian health care systems. Relative financial benefit derived from recruit screening is disproportionate; greatest cost savings are enjoyed by the civilian sector.