Objectives Chlamydia prevalence in the general population is a potential outcome measure for the evaluation of chlamydia control programmes. We carried out a pilot study to determine the feasibility of using a postal survey for population-based chlamydia prevalence monitoring.
Methods Postal invitations were sent to a random sample of 2000 17-year-old to 18-year-old women registered with a general practitioner in two pilot areas in England. Recipients were randomised to receive either a self-sampling kit (n=1000), a self-sampling kit and offer of £5 voucher on return of sample (n=500) or a self-sampling kit on request (n=500). Participants returned a questionnaire and self-taken vulvovaginal swab sample for unlinked anonymous Chlamydia trachomatis testing. Non-responders were sent a reminder letter 3 weeks after initial invitation. We calculated the participation rate (number of samples returned/number of invitations sent) and cost per sample returned (including cost of consumables and postage) in each group.
Results A total of 155/2000 (7.8%) samples were returned with consent for testing. Participation rates varied by invitation group: 7.8% in the group who were provided with a self-sampling kit, 14% in the group who were also offered a voucher and 1.0% in the group who were not sent a kit. The cost per sample received was lowest (£36) in the group who were offered both a kit and a voucher.
Conclusions The piloted survey methodology achieved low participation rates. This approach is not suitable for population-based monitoring of chlamydia prevalence among young women in England.
Study registration number (UKCRN ID 10913).
- CHLAMYDIA TRACHOMATIS
- EPIDEMIOLOGY (GENERAL)