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20% of young people avoid chlamydia testing after GP request

20% of young people avoid chlamydia testing after GP request - Featured Image

A study has found one in five young people will not submit a specimen for chlamydia testing after their general practitioner has requested one.

The research found men, those aged 16-19 years old, those living in socio-economic disadvantage and those visiting a GP clinic without onsite pathology were most likely to not get tested.

The study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, analysed a cross-section of men and women aged 16 – 29 attending 63 general practice clinics in 2013.

Podcast: Professor Jane Hocking discusses her co-authored research on the barriers to chlamydia testing in 16-29 year olds in the GP setting

Authors from University of Melbourne, Monash University, the Alfred Hospital and the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW reported that guidelines recommend that sexually active men and women aged 15-29 have an annual chlamydia test, however only 10% of this age group are screened yearly in general practice.

“It is possible that concern about confidentiality and privacy in general practice may have deterred some,” they wrote.

The authors speculated other reasons for not getting the test could be lack of knowledge about the cost of the test and the inconvenience of having to attend an off-site pathology centre.

Related: Thousands of teens infected by unprotected sex

“It has been argued that simply raising awareness about the risk of chlamydia may not increase testing [in 16-19 year olds], and that providing reassurance of non-infection may be more productive,” they wrote.

The authors highlighted that lower age and socio-economic advantage are risk factors for chlamydia, highlighting how vital it is for clinics to establish systems to ensure the test is undertaken.

Read the full study in the Medical Journal of Australia.

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