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Consumers are ready for pharmacy to be a location for chlamydia testing, a new study reveals

Australian consumers and pharmacists both believe that community pharmacy should be a destination for chlamydia testing if rates of diagnosis are to improve.

A study conducted by both Australian and Swiss researchers revealed similar views between the two countries, and a similar need to improve rates of diagnosis, which are currently mostly based on opportunistic testing by GPs.

In Australia, 965% of pharmacists involved in the study said they wanted to provide regular chlamydia testing, while 79% of consumers said they would seek testing in a pharmacy, if it were provided.

Consumers said they preferred a pharmacy rather than general practice setting for this testing, primarily because they would not need an appointment, or because “A pharmacy is easy to get to”. 

The two most effective barriers to pharmacy testing among consumers were “Im embarrassed about asking for a chlamydia test” and Lack of privacy”.

However, in general Australian pharmacists were informed and aware of chlamydia testing to a higher level than their Swiss colleagues, possibly due to previous trials such as the ACT chlamydia trial earlier this decade. 

“Several different chlamydia screening interventions have been tested and trialled in Australian pharmacies and other avenues which might explain higher consumer and pharmacist knowledge in this country,” said the authors, from the School of Allied Health at the University of Western Australia.

“It has been well documented that young people face barriers such as inconvenient opening hours, high costs and long waiting time associated with GPs,” the authors said.

“New strategies are needed to fulfil the objectives set by the health authorities to combat chlamydia infection…. our study adds to the general body of knowledge on the topic.

Beside GPs and gynaecologists, pharmacies in metropolitan areas seem accept acceptable locations to deliver chlamydia screening, and pharmacy-based services can be further developed,” they concluded.

In total, 198 consumers and 162 pharmacists participated in the Australian arm of the study, which was published in the journal Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare.

According to a 2017 AJP article by Associate Professor Louis Roller, from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Monash University, there were a total of 66,033 notifications of chlamydia from 2011-2015, with the majority (77%) of these notifications among those aged 15–29 years.

The rate of chlamydia notification had increased steadily between 2006 and 2011 (from 237 to 371 per 100 000) but since 2011 has remained relatively stable overall, with the same pattern seen in males and females.

 

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