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The prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in male undergraduates: a postal survey
  1. K E Rogstad1,
  2. S M Bates1,
  3. S Partridge2,
  4. G Kudesia2,
  5. R Poll1,
  6. M A Osborne3,
  7. S Dixon4
  1. 1Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Public Health Laboratory Services, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield
  3. 3Student University Health Services, Claremont Place, Sheffield
  4. 4School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield
  1. Dr Sylvia Bates sylvia.bates{at}


Objectives: To determine the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in male undergraduates and to investigate whether prevalence increases with time spent at university. To investigate the feasibility of screening men for C trachomatis by self sampling and posting of urine specimens.

Methods: The study design was a postal survey undertaken by the Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) and Student University Health Service (SUHS) in Sheffield. 2607 male undergraduates from the SUHS patient list were invited to participate in the study by providing a first void urine specimen and posting it to the laboratory. The main outcome measure was the detection of C trachomatis infection.

Results: 758 students participated in the study, a response rate of 29.1%. Nine students (1.2%) tested positive for C trachomatis. The prevalence of infection in the first, second, and third year of study was 0.7%, 1.5%, and 1.6% of participants respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in prevalence of infection between first and third year students (χ2 test, p = 0.32). However, students with chlamydia had a higher median age (Mann-Whitney U test, p=<0.05). Contact tracing identified four further cases of C trachomatis infection.

Conclusion: Screening for C trachomatis infection by postal survey is feasible. However, the response rate in this study was poor and the estimated sample size was not reached. Therefore, it has not been possible to determine the true prevalence of infection in this population or to accurately assess changes in prevalence with time spent at university.

  • screening
  • ligase chain reaction
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • postal survey

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