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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Take the sex out of STI screening! Views of young women on implementing chlamydia screening in General Practice

Natasha L Pavlin1*, Rhian Parker2, Christopher K Fairley3, Jane M Gunn1 and Jane Hocking4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

2 Healthpact Research Centre for Health Promotion and Wellbeing, University of Canberra, ACT, Australia

3 Department of Public Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, 580 Swanston St, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

4 Key Centre for Women's Health in Society, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2008, 8:62  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-8-62

Published: 9 May 2008

Abstract

Background

Australia is developing a chlamydia screening program. This study aimed to determine the attitudes of young women to the introduction of chlamydia screening in Australian General Practice.

Methods

In-depth face-to-face interviews with 24 young women from across Victoria, Australia, attending a randomly selected sample of general practices.

Results

Young women reported that they would accept age-based screening for chlamydia in general practice, during both sexual-health and non-sexual-health related consultations. Trust in their general practitioner (GP) was reported to be a major factor in the acceptability of chlamydia screening. The women felt chlamydia screening should be offered to all young women rather than targeted at "high risk" women based on sexual history and they particularly emphasised the importance of normalising chlamydia screening. The women reported that they did not want to be asked to provide a sexual history as part of being asked to have a chlamydia test. Some reported that they would lie if asked how many partners they had had

Conclusion

Women do not want a sexual history taken when being asked to have a chlamydia test while attending a general practitioner. They prefer the offer of chlamydia screening to be based on age rather than assessment of sexual risk. Chlamydia screening needs to be normalised and destigmatised.