Background: Chlamydia trachomatis is a common, often asymptomatic sexually transmitted infection.
Goal: The goal was to estimate the prevalence and predictors of C. trachomatis among young women using self-collected vaginal swabs, and the preferences of women and physicians for self-testing.
Study design: A total of 514 attendees of university/college health clinics, adolescent birth control clinics, centers providing health services to homeless youth and adults (street health centers), a sexually transmitted diseases clinic, and family practices were tested by ligase chain reaction. Preference for self- versus provider-testing was examined.
Results: Prevalence was 6.0% and was highest (18.2%) in the street health centers. In multivariate analysis, only recent contact with someone with C. trachomatis infection was significantly associated with infection (odds ratio, 7.1; 95% confidence interval, 2.5-20.0). Most women (54.2%; 256 of 472) preferred self-sampling compared with physician sampling (15.9%; 75 of 472). The majority of physicians (75.0%; 9 of 12) reported at the start and end of the study that they would use vaginal swab self-sampling if available.
Conclusions: Prevalence of infection in young women attending homeless youth organizations was high. Self-sampling was acceptable and could facilitate screening in high-risk women who do not regularly access health services.