Novel approach to an effective community-based chlamydia screening program within the routine operation of a primary healthcare service

Sex Health. 2009 Mar;6(1):51-6. doi: 10.1071/sh08019.


Background: A prospective study was undertaken to develop an evidence-based outreach chlamydia screening program and to assess the viability and efficiency of this complementary approach to chlamydia testing within the routine operations of a primary healthcare service.

Methods: A primary healthcare service based in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, identified high-prevalence groups for chlamydia in the community. Subsequently, a series of outreach clinics were established and conducted between August 2004 and November 2005 at a defence force unit, a university, high school leavers' festivities, a high school catering for Indigenous students, youth service programs, and backpacker accommodations.

Results: All target groups were easily accessible and yielded high participation. Chlamydia prevalence ranged between 5 and 15% for five of the six groups; high school leavers had no chlamydia. All participants were notified of their results and all positive cases were treated (median treatment interval 7 days). Five of the six assessed groups were identified as viable for screening and form the basis for the ongoing outreach chlamydia screening program.

Conclusion: The present study developed an evidence-based outreach chlamydia screening program and demonstrated its viability as a complementary approach to chlamydia testing within the routine operations of the primary healthcare service, i.e. without the need for additional funding. It contributes to the evidence base necessary for a viable and efficient chlamydia management program. Although the presented particulars may not be directly transferable to other communities or health systems, the general two-step approach of identifying local high-risk populations and then collaborating with community groups to access these populations is.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Community Networks
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult