October 11, 2005
Routine urine screening for chlamydia is an effective means of detecting infections in sexually active young men, according Dr. Kathleen P. Tebb of the University of California-San Francisco and colleagues. Chlamydia is moderately prevalent among such youths but many are unaware of their infection.
From 2001 to 2002, the researchers studied sexually active males ages 14-18 who were scheduled for routine health check-ups at ten clinics of a large health management organization. A total of 1,088 teens visited five clinics assigned to screen urine for chlamydia; 1,134 teens visited five control clinics that did not routinely screen for the bacterial infection.
Over 18 months, the proportion of teens screened at the intervention clinics increased from 2.6 percent to 48.5 percent. At the control clinics, corresponding screening rates rose from 7.0 percent to 9.1 percent. In all, 3.8 percent of the teens who were tested for chlamydia were found to have the infection, the researchers found.
Thus, the screening program "was effective in identifying a treatable condition with a moderate level of prevalence and morbidity via an accurate, acceptable, and feasible screening mechanism in a busy community clinic setting," the authors concluded.
The full study, "Screening Sexually Active Adolescents for Chlamydia trachomatis: What About the Boys?" was published in the American Journal of Public Health (2005;95(10):1806-1810).