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Abstract

Objectives: To assess willingness of general practitioners (GPs) to offer chlamydia testing to patients, and to identify demographic and practice correlates associated with willingness to offer chlamydia testing.

Methods: A postal survey of practising GPs in New South Wales was undertaken in 2002 to assess management of STIs in general practice. A 15% (n=1,020) stratified random sample, based on sex and area of practice, was selected. The overall response rate was 45.4% (n=409).

Results: More than four out of five study participants reported that chlamydia testing should usually be offered to patients who had recently changed sexual partners or inconsistently used barrier methods such as condoms. While 76% of GPs would like to offer testing to young women, 65% were in favour of testing young men. Just over half (56%) felt that chlamydia testing should usually be offered to patients at the time of a Pap smear. Multivariate analyses revealed that female GPs were more likely to offer testing to young patients and to female patients at the time of a Pap smear. GPs who had postgraduate training in STIs had double the odds of offering testing to young men and to female patients at the time of a Pap smear.

Conclusions and Implications: This paper reveals variations in GPs' willingness to offer chlamydia testing to patients. Special education programs highlighting the adverse health effects of chlamydial infection have the potential to improve GP involvement in chlamydia screening.