Objective: To describe the proportion of 16-29-year-olds tested for chlamydia by Australian general practitioners in a 12-month period.
Design and setting: Between October 2007 and September 2008, the national chlamydia testing rate in 16-29-year-olds was calculated by dividing the number of Medicare-reimbursed chlamydia tests by two denominators: (i) Medicare-reimbursed GP consultations; and (ii) estimated resident populations adjusted for the proportion who were sexually active.
Main outcome measures: GP chlamydia testing rates in 16-29-year-olds per 100 patients attending a GP consultation and per 100 sexually active population, by patient age and sex, state/territory of residence, and remoteness area.
Results: Among the estimated Australian population of 16-29-year-olds, 85.6% of females and 64.4% of males had at least one GP consultation in the 12-month period. The national GP chlamydia testing rate per 100 patients was 8.9% (95% CI, 8.88%-8.94%). The national GP chlamydia testing rate per 100 sexually active population was 8.0% (95% CI, 7.92%-7.98%). The rate per 100 sexually active population was higher in females (12.5%) compared with males (3.7%) (P < 0.01); higher in 20-24-year-olds (9.0%) compared with 16-19-year-olds (8.7%) and 25-29-year-olds (6.6%) (P < 0.01); higher in those living in non-metropolitan areas (11.0%) compared with metropolitan areas (8.4%) (P < 0.01); and highest in those living in the Northern Territory (21.4%) compared with other jurisdictions (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Despite clinical guidelines recommending annual chlamydia testing for sexually active 15-29-year-olds, our analysis showed that a high proportion of young people aged 16-29 years attend a GP each year, but few of the sexually active population in this age group were tested for chlamydia in general practice. Strategies are needed to support GPs to enhance chlamydia testing in young people.