Role of the general practitioner in testing for genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection: an analysis of enhanced surveillance data

Sex Health. 2009 Sep;6(3):208-12. doi: 10.1071/SH09010.


Background: To examine the relationship between genital chlamydia testing by healthcare providers and patient demographic characteristics in Tasmania, Australia, from 2001 to 2007.

Methods: Analysis of enhanced surveillance data for genital Chlamydia trachomatis infections notified to the Tasmanian Communicable Diseases Prevention Unit between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2007.

Results: General practitioners identify most cases of genital chlamydia infection, irrespective of patient age, gender, indigenous status or urban status. Tests that are performed for screening purposes identify the largest number of cases in females, particularly in very young females. In males, tests performed due to the presence of clinical symptoms identify the majority of cases. However, tests performed for the purposes of contact tracing also identify a substantial burden of genital chlamydia infection, particularly in males.

Conclusions: The present study demonstrates the critical role the general practitioner has in the identification of genital chlamydia infection. Opportunistic screening for genital chlamydia, including in the context of contact tracing, is an essential clinical activity that results in the identification of substantial numbers of cases of infection. Policy makers and public health practitioners should support general practice screening initiatives and remove the barriers to genital chlamydia screening in general practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification
  • Disease Notification / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sentinel Surveillance*
  • Tasmania / epidemiology
  • Young Adult