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.