Postal testing kits for Chlamydia screening

Postal testing kits for Chlamydia screening

K. Allison, K. Carrick-Anderson, H. Clery, L. McKay, G. Scott

Healthy Respect GUM, Lauriston Building (Level 1), Lauriston Place,

Edinburgh, EH3 9HA, Scotland

Objectives: Chlamydia is the most common treatable sexually

transmitted infection (STI) in Scotland, yet most cases of infection remain

undiagnosed and therefore untreated. As part of the Healthy Respect

demonstration project funded by the Scottish Executive, we set out to increase

availability of Chlamydia testing, with the aims of raising awareness, exploring

the true extent of Chlamydia in the community, and especially trying to persuade

men to share responsibility for sexual health.

Methods: Although we carried out a number of testing initiatives, the

crucial development was a postal testing kit for Chlamydia, which we made

available in a variety of settings throughout Lothian. Young people picked up a

free kit and sent away a urine sample in the pre-paid envelope having completed

a lab form. They had a choice of four options on how to receive their results;

they phone us, we phone them, we send an e-mail or we send a letter. All

asymptomatic clients were treated by Healthy Respect nurses using a Patient

Group Direction (PGD) and anybody who fell out-with the PGD were referred to a

GUM doctor.

Results: 10,000 kits were distributed over a two year period and over

2,300 (23%) were returned. 24.5% were from males and 75.5% were from females.

The overall prevalence was 8.5 % (males–9.8%; females–8.1%). Within our

target population of 13– 25 year old the prevalence was significantly higher

at 13.2% (males–12%; females–13.6%). 97% of positive patients were

successfully treated, of whom only 7 fell out-with the PGD and had to be

referred to medical staff.

Discussion: This project has been successfully run by nurses with very

little medical supervision. The hypothesis that ‘1 in 10 young people has

Chlamydia’ would seem to be confirmed. Postal testing kits offer an additional

effective route to Chlamydia testing, especially for men.

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