More information about text formats
In their topical editorial, Jain and Ison state that "testing (for
chlamydia) is a crucial part of any effective control strategy"1. In
January 2013 we conducted a pilot study of Chlamydia trachomatis and
Neisseria gonorrhoea testing in female students at Lambeth Further
Education College, London to assess recruitment to a possible POPI
(prevention of pelvic infection) 2 screening trial.2
Two female general pr...
Two female general practitioners approached consecutive female
students in the common room and asked them to help with a women's health
study. We explained that only women aged 16-27 who were sexually
experienced were eligible. Those who consented completed a questionnaire
and provided a self-taken vaginal swab. We explained that as samples might
not be tested for six months, it was participants' responsibility to get
tested independently if they were at risk of STIs. Subjects were given a
small honorarium (?5 and a lollipop) when they returned the samples.
Of 40 women approached, eight were aged >27 and seven refused:
response rate 78% (25/32). Responders were broadly similar to non-
responders in the proportion of black ethnicity (56%, 14/25 versus 86%,
6/7) but were younger (mean (sd) 19.3 (2.7) years versus 22.9 (3.5) years,
p<0.01)). Unlike our difficulties in the POPI trial2, we recruited our
target of 25 women in 90 minutes and had to turn away potential
participants as we had run out of packs. Three women were later excluded
as their questionnaire responses showed they had never had sex. Of the 22
sexually active women, 41% reported two or more sexual partners in the
previous year and 45% were smokers. Mean age of sexual debut was 15.5
years (range 13 to 19). Four women reported a history of STI.
Within a week, samples were randomly allocated to immediate or
deferred testing. Two of 16 participants in the immediate testing group
were positive - one for chlamydia and one for gonorrhoea. They were easily
contactable by mobile phone and email and referred for treatment. We will
return to the college in six months to request a further vaginal swab and
questionnaire from the 22 eligible participants. Although we need to
ensure only those who are sexually experienced are recruited, our study
suggests small financial incentives may be useful.
Ethics review: Bromley REC: 12/LO/0855
Acknowledgements: We thank students and staff at Lambeth College.
1. Jain A, Ison CA. Chlamydia point-of-care testing: where are we
now? Sex Transm Infect 2013;89(2)88-89.
2. Oakeshott P, Kerry S, Aghaizu A et al. Randomized control trial of
screening for Chlamydia trachomatis to prevent pelvic inflammatory
disease: the POPI (prevention of pelvic infection) trial. BMJ.