Taking the sex out of sexual health screening

May 09, 2008

Young women would accept age-based screening for the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia, but would want this test to be offered to everyone, rather than to people ‘singled out’ according to their sexual history.

In the study, published in the BioMed Central open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases, the Australian women interviewed did not like discussing their sex lives with their GPs. Some said they would even lie about how many sexual partners they had had if asked. In response to these findings, the study authors suggest that a detailed sexual history should not be required before testing women for chlamydia.

Chlamydia is Australia’s and the UK’s most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is most prevalent in the under-25s and can have serious long-term health consequences, including causing infertility in women.

A team comprising three doctors, a sociologist and an epidemiologist at the University of Melbourne, Australia aimed to find out what young Australian women thought about the introduction of chlamydia screening into general practice. The researchers interviewed 24 sexually active women aged 16 to 24 who attended one of a sample of general practices. Equal numbers of women from rural, regional and urban areas were questioned.

In contrast to previous research, which suggests women are not concerned about giving information about their sexual history in the context of a family planning or sexual health clinic, interviewees were reluctant to provide such a history to their GPs. This is a new finding which raises the question of whether a sexual history is really necessary when screening for chlamydia.

The authors acknowledge that it is important for young women to understand that chlamydia is an STI and that sexual partners should be notified if someone tests positive. However, they said that chlamydia testing should be destigmatised. “In general practice the offer [of a chlamydia test] may seem to come ‘out of the blue’” says Natasha Pavlin, who coordinated the study. “The importance of normalising the offer of chlamydia testing, so that individual women do not feel singled out, cannot be overemphasised.”

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: UN Ebola victim leaves France after recovery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chlamydia promotes gene mutations

Jun 20, 2013

Chlamydia trachomatis is a human pathogen that is the leading cause of bacterial sexually transmitted disease worldwide with more than 90 million new cases of genital infections occurring each year. About ...

Seniors' sex lives are up -- and so are STD cases

May 17, 2011

Across the nation, and especially in communities that attract a lot of older Americans, the free-love generation is continuing to enjoy an active - if not always healthy - sex life.

Alaska ranks No. 1 for chlamydia

May 05, 2011

Alaska again ranks first in the nation for chlamydia and is second for gonorrhea, state public health officials announced Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Dutch Ebola aid ship finishes West Africa tour

2 hours ago

The European Union says a Dutch aid ship is finishing its tour of the three West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic, docking in Liberia to deliver supplies including medical equipment.

ECOWAS trains health workers to fight Ebola

5 hours ago

West Africa's regional bloc ECOWAS said on Sunday it will train 150 health workers this week to help tackle the deadly Ebola disease in the worst hit countries; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

14 hours ago

The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, U.S. public health officials are girding for the next health disaster.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.