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Socio-demographic and structural barriers to being tested for chlamydia in general practice

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General practice is at the forefront of health care in Australia, with more than 85% of the Australian population consulting a general practitioner each year.1 Preventive health care is an important activity in general practice, and includes the prevention of illness, the early detection of infection or disease, and the promotion and maintenance of health.2 While prevention is key to Australia’s future health, it is also critical in redressing the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

Chlamydia screening is a key preventive care activity for young Australian adults. Guidelines recommend that sexually active men and women aged 15–29 years have an annual chlamydia test,2 but less than 10% of this age group are screened each year in general practice.3 There are well documented barriers to the uptake of chlamydia screening, from the perspective of both the GP and the patient. For GPs, these barriers include time, lack of awareness or knowledge about chlamydia, lack of support for partner notification, and concern about embarrassing their patient.4,5 For patients, barriers include the cost of the GP consultation and the chlamydia test, availability of transport to the clinic, lack of…