Background: Australia has a widely dispersed network of public sexual health services that test large numbers of people from high prevalence populations for genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection. These populations include young sexually active heterosexuals, men who have sex with men, sex workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Australian Collaboration for Chlamydia Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance (ACCESS) Project was established to monitor chlamydia testing rates and positivity rates at a national level, which in turn will help interpret trends in chlamydia diagnoses reported through passive surveillance. The ACCESS Project is the first time that chlamydia-related data including priority population and testing denominators has been collated at a national level. The present paper reports on chlamydia testing and positivity rates in a sexual health service in the inner west of Sydney between 2004 and 2008 and compares these to published national data from the ACCESS Project in sexual health services. Methods: Chlamydia positivity and testing rates at an inner western Sydney sexual health service were compared with aggregate data from the ACCESS Project obtained from 14 sexual health services across Australia. Using a standardised extraction program, retrospective de-identified line-listed demographic and chlamydia testing data on all patients were extracted from patient management systems. Results: Over the 5-year period, 5145 new patients attended the inner-west sexual health service. Almost 66% had a chlamydia test at first visit and there was no significant difference in this testing rate when compared with the ACCESS Project national rate for sexual health services (67.0%; odds ratio [OR] 0.94, 95% confidence intervals 0.88-1.00). The testing rate increased over time from 61% in 2004 to 70% in 2008. There were 281 chlamydia diagnoses at this service, giving an overall chlamydia positivity rate of 9.3%, significantly higher than the ACCESS Project national rate of 8.2% (OR 1.16, 95% confidence intervals 1.02-1.32). Discussion: Testing rates were similar and positivity rates for Chlamydia trachomatis were higher in this sexual health service in Sydney than national trends.
- STI testing