The cost effectiveness of screening for genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection in Australia

Sex Health. 2006 Dec;3(4):225-34. doi: 10.1071/sh06016.


Background: In Australia, there is no published study on the cost effectiveness of screening for chlamydia. The aim of this study was to examine the cost effectiveness of a hypothetical screening programme for chlamydia based on annual opportunistic testing of all women 25 years of age or younger consulting a general practitioner, compared with no screening.

Methods: A decision-analytic modelling approach was used to determine the incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) of screening compared with no screening over 25 years. The analysis measured Australian health-care costs and benefits were assessed in terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs).

Results: The analysis resulted in a cost per QALY of 2968 dollars for screening. One-way sensitivity analyses on all variables, and multi-way sensitivity analyses on some variables, showed a wide range for the cost effectiveness, from dominance (where screening is effective and saves money overall) to an ICER of 67,715 dollars per QALY.

Conclusions: The results indicate that annual opportunistic screening for chlamydia in women under 25 is a potentially worthwhile undertaking. However, the analysis also highlights uncertainties around the natural history of chlamydia and the effectiveness of chlamydia screening. Given these uncertainties, the need for further primary data collection in these areas becomes apparent.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / economics*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / epidemiology