Screening for genital chlamydial infection in women in general practice

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7121.1540a (Published 06 December 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1540

Psychological effects of such screening are important

  1. Miriam Santer, Higher professional training fellowa
  1. a Department of General Practice, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9DX
  2. b Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Leicester, Leicester LE5 4PW
  3. c Leicestershire Health, Leicester LE5 4QF
  4. d Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE1 5WW

    Editor—I support Grun et al's call for a rigorous economic evaluation of screening for genital chlamydial infection, but the psychological aspects of screening deserve more attention.1 When considering the introduction of a screening programme it is essential to take the patients' psychological perspective into account, for several reasons.2

    Firstly, no screening programme can succeed without the compliance of the target population with testing, treatment, and, in the case of a sexually transmitted disease, contact tracing. Secondly, the programme needs to be set up so as to minimise the negative psychological sequelae of screening, such as anxiety and depression. This is an especially important consideration when screening for genital chlamydial infection because of the potential for psychosexual problems and the implications for women's relationships with their partners if results of testing are positive.3 Finally, any medical interaction has the potential to be used as an opportunity for health promotion, and discussion of chlamydial infection would allow an …

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