A Systematic Literature Review of Reviews on the Effectiveness of Chlamydia Testing

Epidemiol Rev. 2019 Jan 31;41(1):168-175. doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxz007.


Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection, causing significant morbidity and economic burden. Strategies like national screening programs or home-testing kits were introduced in some developed countries, yet their effectiveness remains controversial. In this systematic review, we examined reviews of chlamydia screening interventions to assess their effectiveness and the elements that contribute to their success to guide public policy and future research. We assessed English material published after 2000 in PubMed, the Cochrane Library, the British Nursing Index, Medical Database, and Sociological Abstracts, in addition to World Health Organization Global Health Sector Strategies, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control guidelines, and the Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews. Systematic reviews that focused on chlamydia screening interventions were included. Using the socioecological model, we examined the levels of interventions that may affect the uptake of chlamydia screening. A total of 19 systematic reviews were included. Self-collection in home-testing kits significantly increased screening among girls and women 14-50 years of age. At the organizational level, using electronic health records and not creating additional costs facilitated testing. At the community level, outreach interventions in community and parent centers and homeless shelters achieved high screening rates. At the policy level, interventions with educational and advisory elements could result in significant improvements in screening rates.

Keywords: chlamydia; effectiveness; review; screening; sexually transmitted infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / diagnosis