Chlamydia screening interventions from community pharmacies: a systematic review

Sex Health. 2013 Jul;10(3):229-39. doi: 10.1071/SH12069.


Background: Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) is the most commonly notified sexually transmissible infection in Australia. Increasing the number of people aged 16-25 years being tested for chlamydia has become a key objective. The strategy recommends that chlamydia screening sites should be easy to access. Community pharmacies are conveniently located and easily accessible. This review aimed to determine the different types of pharmacy-based chlamydia screening interventions, describe their uptake rates, and understand issues around the acceptability of and barriers to testing.

Methods: Seven electronic databases were searched for peer-reviewed articles published up to 30 October 2011 for studies that reported chlamydia screening interventions from community pharmacies, or had qualitative evidence on acceptability or barriers linked with interventions.

Results: Of the 163 publications identified, 12 met the inclusion criteria. Nine reported chlamydia screening interventions in a pharmacy setting, whereas three focussed on perspectives on chlamydia screening. Pharmacists could offer a chlamydia test to consumers attending the pharmacy for a sexual health-related consultation, or consumers could request a chlamydia test as part of a population-based intervention. Participating consumers said pharmacies were accessible and convenient, and pharmacists were competent when offering a chlamydia test. Pharmacists reported selectively offering tests to women they thought would be most at risk, undermining the principles of opportunistic interventions.

Conclusion: Chlamydia screening from community pharmacies is feasible, and can provide an accessible, convenient venue to get a test. Professional implementation support, alongside resources, education and training programs, and incentives may overcome the issue of pharmacists selectively offering the test.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pharmacies / organization & administration*
  • Young Adult