Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common curable STI in the UK. Prevalence of the disease in different health care settings is between 2% and 29%, and diagnoses of the condition continue to rise significantly. Few data exist about the actual practice patterns of primary care providers in the management of chlamydia. The management of patients identified with the infection within this setting warrants attention.

Researchers conducted this study to determine GPs’ and nurses’ reported clinical practice in managing genital chlamydial infection. A secondary aim was to design a needs-based education guideline on the management of chlamydia in rural primary care.

The study design used was an anonymous, confidential, self-administered postal questionnaire was sent to all GPs and cervical cytology practice nurses in 84 practices in the DPHA area, Wales, UK.

Following two mailings of the survey, responses were obtained from 75/84 practices. A total of 130/307 GPs and 72/152 nurses in these practices responded. The data demonstrated that few tests for chlamydia are being carried out in a general way: 42% (55/130) of GPs and 54% (37/72) of nurses reported carrying out between one and four tests a month, and 35% (46/130) of GPs and 29% (21/72) of nurses said performing less than one test a month. Most GPs (72%) and nurses (68%) routinely use the appropriate endocervical swab when testing for chlamydia. However, 19% of GPs and 20% of nurses use either an incorrect wooden-stemmed swab or are taking an inappropriate high vaginal swab.

The study concluded that few chlamydia tests are being performed in primary care in DPHA, Wales. Health professionals in general practice need and favor up-to-date training on all aspects of chlamydial identification and management in primary care.