Introduction Annual genital chlamydia and gonorrhoea notifications have been rising in Australia. This study investigated changes in the patterns of chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing and positivity among women of reproductive age.
Methods A cohort of women born between 1970 and 1995 residing in Western Australia (WA) was determined from birth registrations and the current electoral roll and probabilistically linked with pathology records from one large laboratory providing services in Perth and parts of regional WA. All chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests conducted from 1998–2013 that linked to the cohort were examined.
Results There were 380,242 women included, with 99,134 (26%) having at least one chlamydia test and 82,064 (22%) at least one gonorrhoea test. Annually, the proportion of chlamydia tests in women aged 15–24 increased from 1.5% in 1998 to 8.7% in 2013 and among women aged ≥25 from 1.1% to 4.4%. Concurrent gonorrhoea testing also increased over this period from 52.7% to 81.7% of all chlamydia tests; a trend observed across all age groups. The percentage of positive chlamydia tests increased in those aged 15–24 (5.9% in 1998 to 8.2% in 2013) but not in those aged ≥25 (3.9% and 2.5% respectively). The proportion of positive gonorrhoea tests decreased from 1.4% to 0.4%, this decrease was observed across all age groups.
Conclusion The proportion of chlamydia tests among women of reproductive age in WA increased over time and chlamydia positivity increased among women aged 15–24. Gonorrhoea positivity decreased however, this coincided with an increase in concurrent gonorrhoea testing.
Disclosure of interest statement The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare