The main focus of the national chlamydia screening programme in England is on women aged 16–24 who attend contraceptive clinics. But research commissioned by the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme has found that chlamydia prevalence in asymptomatic young men is the same as in women, suggesting as many young men should be screened as women.
The study of more than 4,500 patients identified 219 positive cases of chlamydia. Prevalence of chlamydia was 6.9 per cent in men aged 20–4, higher than the 6.2 per cent in women of the same age group.
The study also suggested that general practice was the setting best placed to offer screening to the majority of young men. Offering testing in workplaces, a scheme previously piloted by the Men’s Health Forum, resulted in low uptake rates.
There is no quality framework incentive for GPs to offer chlamydia screening.
North London GP Dr Richard Ma, a member of the NICE guideline development group on preventing STIs in under-18s, said: ‘There is no point in screening women for chlamydia if men are not being screened as well.’