Urogenital Chlamydia trachomatis infections are widespread, and each year many tests are performed in general practice.
First, to quantify the magnitude of stigmatisation, problems related to partner, and anxiety of infertility among men and women tested for C. trachomatis in general practice. Second, to investigate the effect of a C. trachomatis test result on planned future condom use.
Design of study
Comparative cross-sectional study.
General practices in Aarhus County, Denmark.
Men and women tested for C. trachomatis in general practice were given a questionnaire about feelings of stigmatisation, fear of partner's reaction, fear of future infertility and other psychosocial side effects related to being infected or not infected with C. trachomatis.
A total of 277 participated in the study. The response rates were 61% (82/135) and 54% (195/365) among infected and non-infected individuals, respectively. Among the infected individuals 32% (9/28) of the men's partners and 35% (19/54) of the women's partners were upset about the test result, 9% (5/54) of the women and 11% (3/28) of the men split with their partner, 59% (32/54) of the women and 54% (15/28) of the men expressed nervousness about infertility, and 91% (19/21) of the women but only 56% (5/9) of the men said that they would use a condom more often in the future. All these figures were significantly lower for both men and women having C. trachomatis negative test results.
A chlamydia test affects the individual in terms of sexuality, relation to partner, reproduction, and future contraceptive strategy. The influence is highest among women and individuals with a positive test result. These findings should be taken into account in screening programmes targeting young women and men.