Objective: The uptake rate of Chlamydia trachomatis (Chlamydia) testing amongst young New Zealanders is unknown. Our aim was to ascertain age-group Chlamydia testing and detection rates within the Waikato area.
Methods: A retrospective study was undertaken of all Chlamydia tests within Waikato District Health Board during Feb-Oct 2008. Non-genital samples and duplicates for any individual were excluded. New Zealand 2006 census population data served as denominator data.
Results: There were 21,104 Chlamydia tests carried out on Waikato residents during Feb-Oct 2008; of these, 10,847 (51.4%) tests were from 15-24 year olds, 82.3% were female. Based on tests, uptake amongst 15-24 year olds was 22.2%, 36.9% amongst females and 7.7% amongst males, compared to 9.3% amongst 25-44 year olds. Based on individuals, uptake amongst 15-24 year olds was 17.4%: 28.4% for females and 6.7% for males, with similar rates for Māori (13.5%) and non-Māori (15%). Overall 15.8% of tests from 15-24 year olds were positive, 14.4% in females and 23.0% in males (p<0.001), with positivity double amongst Māori (24.2% vs. 12.5%; p<0.001).
Conclusions: High rates of Chlamydia testing and uptake, particularly amongst local 15-24 year old women, may explain high Chlamydia surveillance rates in the Waikato district. Whilst a high testing rate amongst young women is encouraging, lower testing amongst men is notable. This better understanding of existing Waikato testing and detection patterns helps prioritise local efforts during planned implementation of Chlamydia primary care guidelines, particularly around targeting testing, optimising case management and emphasising effective partner notification.
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