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Chlamydia screening needs redesign

Chlamydia screening is missing numerous infections because it is too focused on GUM clinics and failing to test enough men, a new analysis warns.

By targeting GUM clinics so firmly, the programme is missing large numbers of lower-risk patients more likely to present to a GP, the researchers said.

But they cautioned that while GPs needed to take on a greater role in screening, they also had to become more effective at targeting men.

An analysis of chlamydia

diagnoses in a population of 11,161 found women diagnosed in primary care had fewer sexual partners and exhibited lower risk behaviours than those diagnosed in GUM clinics.

But whereas 51 per cent of women's diagnoses were in primary care, only 22 per cent of men's were, the study reported online in Public Health.

Study leader Dr Jackie Cassell, honorary clinical research fellow in epidemiology and public health at University College London, said: 'Given the deficit in male diagnoses, increasing reliance on primary care for STIs may lead to a

worsening of control and stigmatisation of chlamydia as a "women's problem".'

Dr William Ford-Young, chair of the RCGP's sex, drugs and HIV task group and a GP in Macclesfield, warned of a 'crisis' in sexual health and called for more GP involvement.

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