Public health policies and management strategies for genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection
Kelly Shaw1,2, David Coleman1, Maree O'Sullivan1, Nicola Stephens3
1Department of Health and Human Services, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; 2Health and Wellbeing Research Cluster, Southern Cross University, New South Wales, Australia; 3NSW Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Abstract: Genital Chlamydia trachomatis is a sexually transmissible bacterial infection that is asymptomatic in the majority of infected individuals and is associated with significant short-term and long-term morbidity. The population prevalence of the infection appears to be increasing. C. trachomatis is of public health significance because of the impacts of untreated disease on reproductive outcomes, transmission of other sexually acquired infections, and the costs to health systems. At the individual level, C. trachomatis infection is readily treatable with antibiotics, although antibiotic resistance appears to be increasing. At the population level, public health control of spread of infection is more problematic. Approaches to control include primary preventive activities, increased access to testing and treatment for people with or at risk of infection, partner notification and treatment, and screening either opportunistically or as part of an organized population screening program. A combination of all of the above approaches is likely to be required to have a significant effect on the burden of disease associated with genital chlamdyia infection and to reduce population prevalence. The development of a vaccine for genital chlamydia infection could significantly reduce the public health burden associated with infection; however a vaccine is not expected to be available in the near future.
Keywords: chlamydia, public health, health policy, screening
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