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In November 1996 the chief medical officer's (CMO) expert advisory group on Chlamydia trachomatis was set up to advise on the issues associated with screening programmes for chlamydia.1 Arising from their recommendations the Department of Health set up a pilot study of opportunistic chlamydia screening,2 based in primary care settings, in Portsmouth and the Wirral. Recruitment of patients began in September 1999 for 1 year. The aim of the study is to evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, and costs of providing such a service. Among the main objectives of the pilot study are those of establishing the proportion of women offered and accepting the test, evaluating public and professional educational methods and materials, assisting the development of a model for a national chlamydia screening programme along with the costs and implications for NHS staffing and, in the long term, preventing the possible complications of infection.
Women aged over 16 and below 25 who have ever been sexually active are offered opportunistic screening by a nucleic acid amplification technique, on a urine specimen, when they attend their general practitioner, family planning, termination of pregnancy, genitourinary medicine (GUM), colposcopy, gynaecology, or antenatal clinic. Women under the age of 16 are included if they present for a sexual health reason and are considered to be Gillick competent …
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