Delivery of chlamydia screening to young women requesting emergency hormonal contraception at pharmacies in Manchester, UK: a prospective study

BMC Womens Health. 2009 Mar 26:9:7. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-9-7.


Background: More women are requesting Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC) at pharmacies where screening for Chlamydia trachomatis is not routinely offered. The objective of this study was to assess the uptake of free postal chlamydia screening by women under 25 years who requested EHC at pharmacies in Manchester, UK.

Methods: Six Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) that had contracted with pharmacies to provide free EHC, requested the largest EHC providers (> or = 40 doses annually) to also offer these clients a coded chlamydia home testing kit. Pharmacies kept records of the ages and numbers of women who accepted or refused chlamydia kits. Women sent urine samples directly to the laboratory for testing and positive cases were notified. Audit data on EHC coverage was obtained from PCTs to assess the proportion of clients eligible for screening and to verify the uptake rate.

Results: 33 pharmacies participated. Audit data for 131 pharmacy months indicated that only 24.8% (675/2718) of women provided EHC were also offered chlamydia screening. Based on tracking forms provided by pharmacies for the whole of the study, 1348/2904 EHC clients (46.4%) who had been offered screening accepted a screening kit. 264 (17.6%) of those who accepted a kit returned a sample, of whom 24 (9.1%) were chlamydia-positive. There was an increase in chlamydia positivity with age (OR: 1.2 per year; 1.04 to 1.44; p = 0.015).

Conclusion: Chlamydia screening for EHC pharmacy clients is warranted but failure of pharmacists to target all EHC clients represented a missed opportunity for treating a well defined high-risk group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification
  • Community Pharmacy Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraception, Postcoital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult