27 September 2011
More than one in 5 young women treated for chlamydia become reinfected within 12 months, according to research underlining the extent of Australia's epidemic of this sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Meanwhile a separate national study has found the chlamydia infection rate is highest in young men, particularly in country areas.
With women outnumbering men 3 to one in undergoing chlamydia testing, a fresh approach to control of this STI is needed, the Australasian Sexual Health Conference 2011 was told in Canberra (28-30 Sep 2011).
Associate Professor Jane Hocking, deputy director of the Centre for Women's Health at the University of Melbourne presented data from the ongoing Australian Chlamydia Control Effectiveness Pilot (ACCEPt) study.
The study has to date tested 2215 males and females aged 16–29
attending general practice nationwide.
So far it has found an overall chlamydia prevalence of 4.7 per cent, with 5.0 per cent in men versus 4.6 per cent in women, and higher in rural areas.
A separate study that followed up a group of young women with chlamydia infection found 22 per cent had a repeat infection within 12 months, a "very, very high reinfection rate," Professor Hocking said.
"A lot of the time it is coming from an untreated partner and that highlights how important partner notification is."
Another study shows annual reports of chlamydia infection among young people in NSW increased 307 per cent in under a decade to 18,256 in 2010, with a 336 per cent surge in chlamydia tests.
Epidemiologist Caroline van Gemert, from the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, presented results from the Australian Collaboration for Chlamydia Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance (ACCESS) study which found men accounted for only 27 per cent of 416,000 chlamydia tests ordered nationally in 2008 and 2009.
"We do need to do a lot more work to encourage testing among men," Ms van Gemert said.
Last Reviewed: 30 September 2011