Who Is Best to Test? A Systematic Review of Chlamydia Infections in Switzerland

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Dec 15;17(24):9389. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17249389.


In many countries, community pharmacies provide sexual-health-related services to limit the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia testing. To identify suitable target groups for pharmacy-based chlamydia testing in Switzerland, we aimed to assess chlamydia prevalence, identify risk groups, and delineate screening strategies. We conducted a systematic literature search up to December 2019 in PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science, according to the PRISMA guidelines, using as keywords "chlamydia", "screening", and "Switzerland". Two researchers screened the title, abstract, and full-text article and assessed the methodological quality. The literature search generated 108 hits, and nine studies were included. Chlamydia prevalence ranged between 0.8 and 12.8%. Most frequently affected were undocumented women undergoing voluntary termination of pregnancy (12.8%, 95% CI: 8.4-18.9), HIV-positive men who have sex with men (10.9%, 95% CI: 9.2-17.6), and adult offenders (6.5%, 95% CI: 3.2-9.0). Systematic screening was suggested for the first two risk groups and women suffering a miscarriage. To conclude, chlamydia infections are prevalent in Switzerland, but the identified risk groups are difficult to reach for a pharmacy-based testing service. More studies are needed to identify suitable target groups, including customers seeking sexual health services, particularly emergency contraception users who already receive counselling for STIs at community pharmacies.

Keywords: Switzerland; chlamydia; pharmacy; screening.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections* / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*
  • Switzerland / epidemiology