Background: The purpose of this study was to explore pattern of testing and prevalence of C trachomatis among 16 to 19 year old Norwegian high school girls.
Material and methods: The study subjects were 827 girls who participated in a study of oral contraceptives prescribed by public health nurses. The first consultation was an interview about sexual behaviour and other characteristics. The participants were encouraged to test for C trachomatis with their general practitioners. We explored characteristics of those tested and predictors of genital C trachomatis infection.
Results: Half of the study population was tested, either before (21%) or during the study period (26%). Girls with risk factors such as change of partner over the last six months, older partner or no regular partner were more likely to be tested than girls with no change of partner or a regular same-age partner. One out of four girls with high-risk behaviour (> or =3 partners) was never tested. The prevalence of infection at first test was 9%. The risk for having a positive test result was three times higher for single girls than for girls with a regular same-age partner.
Interpretation: Too few young girls were tested for C trachomatis. Encouragement from public health providers had low influence on the pattern of testing. Alternative strategies such as implementation of do-it-yourself tests by urine or vulvovaginal sampling procedures have to be provided as a low-threshold service.