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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

AUSTRALIA: Missed Opportunities - Low Levels of Chlamydia Retesting at Australian General Practices, 2008-2009


Sexually Transmitted Infections Vol. 88; No. 5: P. 330-334 (08..12)

“Chlamydia re-infection is common and increases the risk of reproductive complications,” noted the study authors, who described retesting rates among patients ages 16-29 diagnosed with chlamydia at 25 general practice clinics participating in the Australian Collaboration for Chlamydia Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance system. Guidelines for general practitioners in Australia recommend retesting for the STD at three to 12 months after a positive result, but not before six weeks. Annual testing and positivity rates were calculated for 16- to 29-year-olds attending in 2008-09, along with re-attendance and retesting rates within A total of 50,408 individuals were tested (60.4 percent females) in 2008-09. Annually, 7.4 percent and 7.3 percent were tested for chlamydia, of whom 9.1 percent and 8.0 percent tested positive, respectively. Within 1.5-4 months of a positive chlamydia test, 24.6 percent re-attended and were retested (19 percent positive), 31.6 percent re-attended and were not retested, and 43.9 percent did not re-attend. Within 1.5-12 months, 40 percent re-attended and were retested (16 percent positive), 40 percent re-attended and were not retested, and 20 percent did not re-attend. Of persons re-attending in 1.5-12 months but not retested, 50 percent had re-attended three or more times in the period. Twenty-five percent of those with a positive test were retested within six weeks. “A high proportion of 16- to 29-year-olds re-attended general practices in the recommended retest periods, but retesting rates were low and multiple missed opportunities were common,” the authors concluded, noting that strategies such as electronic clinician prompts, patient recall systems, and promotion of retesting guidelines are needed.


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