Chlamydia screening for pregnant women aged 16-25 years attending an antenatal service: a cost-effectiveness study

BJOG. 2016 Jun;123(7):1194-202. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.13567. Epub 2015 Aug 26.


Objective: Determine the cost-effectiveness of screening all pregnant women aged 16-25 years for chlamydia compared with selective screening or no screening.

Design: Cost effectiveness based on a decision model.

Setting: Antenatal clinics in Australia.

Sample: Pregnant women, aged 16-25 years.

Methods: Using clinical data from a previous study, and outcomes data from the literature, we modelled the short-term perinatal (12-month time horizon) incremental direct costs and outcomes from a government (as the primary third-party funder) perspective for chlamydia screening. Costs were derived from the Medicare Benefits Schedule, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and average cost-weights reported for hospitalisations classified according to the Australian refined diagnosis-related groups.

Main outcome measures: Direct costs of screening and managing chlamydia complications, number of chlamydia cases detected and treated, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were estimated and subjected to sensitivity analyses.

Results: Assuming a chlamydia prevalence rate of 3%, screening all antenatal women aged 16-25 years at their first antenatal visit compared with no screening was $34,931 per quality-adjusted life-years gained. Screening all women could result in cost savings when chlamydia prevalence was higher than 11%. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were most sensitive to the assumed prevalence of chlamydia, the probability of pelvic inflammatory disease, the utility weight of a positive chlamydia test and the cost of the chlamydia test and doctor's appointment.

Conclusion: From an Australian government perspective, chlamydia screening of all women aged 16-25 years old during one antenatal visit was likely to be cost-effective compared with no screening or selective screening, especially with increasing chlamydia prevalence.

Tweetable abstract: Chlamydia screening for all pregnant women aged 16-25 years during an antenatal visit is cost effective.

Keywords: Antenatal; chlamydia; cost-effectiveness; screening.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / economics*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / economics*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / economics
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Young Adult