Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections and specimen collection preference among women, using self-collected vaginal swabs in community settings

Sex Transm Dis. 2003 Dec;30(12):880-5. doi: 10.1097/01.OLQ.0000091142.68884.2A.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Self Administration
  • Specimen Handling
  • Vagina / microbiology*