Chlamydia trachomatis age-specific prevalence in women who used an internet-based self-screening program compared to women who were screened in family planning clinics

Sex Transm Dis. 2011 Feb;38(2):74-8. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3182039d7f.


Objectives: To determine whether women who collect self-collected vaginal swabs at home demonstrated a higher positivity of Chlamydia trachomatis than women in family planning clinics.

Methods: Collection kits for vaginal swabs were internet requested, collected at home, and mailed to a laboratory for testing; questionnaires were completed about acceptability and sexual risk history. Infected women received treatment at participating clinics. Age-specific prevalences were compared to those from family planning clinics.

Results: Chlamydia positivity was 10.3% for 1171 females mailing swabs; prevalences ranged from 3.3% to 5.5% in family planning. Positivity for internet age groups was much higher than those for family planning age groups. The positivity for internet participants ranged from a low of 4.4% in Baltimore in 2005 to a high of 15.2% Baltimore in 2007. Family planning clinic prevalence in Baltimore and Maryland ranged from a low of 3.3% in Baltimore in 2006 to a high of 5.5% in Baltimore in 2008. The median age for all years for internet users in Baltimore and Maryland combined was 23 years; the median age for all years for attendees to family planning clinics who had chlamydia testing performed was 23 years.

Conclusions: Internet recruited women demonstrated higher positivity of chlamydia than those in family planning, providing new options for chlamydia screening programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Chlamydia Infections* / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections* / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections* / microbiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis* / genetics
  • Chlamydia trachomatis* / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques
  • Prevalence
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Self Care*
  • Vaginal Smears / methods
  • Young Adult


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic