The rate of re-infection within a major city community based chlamydia screening programme

The rate of re-infection within a major city community based

chlamydia screening programme

A Taylor

Chlamydia Screening Programme, North Liverpool PCT, Liverpool,

United Kingdom

ntroduction The Chlamydia Screening Programme in

Liverpool UK started in June 2004 and has so far screened 18,000 people. The

programme is aimed at young men and women aged 24 years and under. As well as

screening opportunistically, clients who test positive are offered treatment, as

are current and previous partners. Inevitably, though the programme is

successful we still see instances of re-infection. Current local guidance is to

use azithromycin as first line treatment but erythromycin where there is a risk

of pregnancy.

Aims and objectives To show the rate of re-infection of

those tested over a 12 month period with a 6 month follow up. To discover the

percentages of clients who were initially treated for chlamydia and became

re-infected. To identify factors which will help reduce the re-infection rate.

Methods The study looked at chlamydia tests completed

from 1st September 2004 to 31st August 2005 with follow up till February 2006.

All data was sourced from the Chlamydia Database and case note auditing. The

chlamydia prevalence in the audit period was 13%.

Results Out of 1,284 clients tested and treated 116 (9%)

were re-tested and of those 49 (i.e. 4% of the original clients tested) had been

re-infected. Hence of those re-tested 42% were positive and 58% negative.

Reasons for re-infection differed. The most common reason was sexual intercourse

with an untreated partner. Other reasons included unprotected sexual intercourse

with a new partner, sex too soon after treatment, poor compliance with

antibiotics and gastro-intestinal upset.

Conclusion Effective health education can help to reduce

the incidences of re-infection. Safer sex should be discussed at treatment

consultation and instructions should be given on how to take antibiotics

correctly. Using azithromycin as first choice for women even with a risk of

pregnancy, as done in many other services, may help to reduce problems with

treatment compliance. If clients are aware of chlamydia risks and they attend

for re-testing then this greater awareness of the sexual health consequences of

chlamydia can be seen as a success of the programme.

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