Screening university students for genital chlamydial infection: another lesson to learn
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BACKGROUND: Genital chlamydial infection is the most common bacterial sexually transmissible infection in Britain. However, the magnitude of the problem at a university setting has not been sufficiently explored. The objective of the present study was to assess the acceptability and the feasibility of Chlamydia trachomatis opportunistic screening at the University of Exeter, England, UK. METHODS: A cross-sectional study at the University of Exeter was performed. Study posters were placed in the campuses inviting the students to participate in the study. C. trachomatis screening flyers were offered to consecutive male and female students visiting the university health centre. Participants were given an information sheet and asked to complete a demographic and sexual health questionnaire. Following informed consent, a first void urine specimen was collected from male participants and a self-administered vaginal swab was collected from female participants. Specimens were tested for C. trachomatis using nucleic acid amplification test. RESULTS: Of the 250 students offered chlamydia study slips in the university health centre, 88 (35.2%) agreed to participate in the screening. Six of them were ineligible for the study. A further nine students volunteered to participate in the screening through reading study posters in the university campuses, and three of them were ineligible. A total of 88 students (66 female and 22 male) were screened for C. trachomatis and three of them (3.41%; 95% confidence interval 0.71%-9.64%) tested positive. All of the positive participants were offered treatment and partner notification. The majority of the screened students (96.5%) had had at least one sexual partner in the past 3 months. CONCLUSION: Opportunistic screening for C. trachomatis in the university can identify and treat infected students. However, the uptake rate was low. More efforts are needed to determine the best ways of engaging students in the screening.