Abstract

Recent research has demonstrated the importance of considering sexual activity when calculating Chlamydia trachomatis incidence and screening rates, particularly for adolescents. In this study, we assessed the impact of adjusting for sexual activity on population-based chlamydia incidence and screening rates among adolescents in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada. We estimated the proportion of adolescent males (15–18 years) and females (14–18 years) who had ever had sexual intercourse using data from a survey of public school students (Grades 7–12) completed by ~30,000 BC students in 2003 and 2008. Using provincial chlamydia surveillance and testing data we compared adolescent chlamydia screening and incidence rates by age and gender, using total and sexually active populations as denominators. During these time periods, an estimated 32% and 33% of males 15–18 years and 28% and 31% of females 14–18 years were sexually active in 2003 and 2008 respectively. Sexually active incidence and screening rates were consistently higher with a more pronounced impact at younger ages. For example, in 2008 screening rates among 14-year-old females were 26.2% vs. 2.5% in sexually active and total populations respectively, while the corresponding rates among 18-year-old females were 60.2% vs. 28.9%. Using data representing the entire population of BC adolescents we demonstrated that without adjustment for sexual behaviour, adolescent chlamydia incidence and screening rates are substantially under-estimated, particularly at younger ages. Adjusting for sexual behaviour using population survey data is essential for accurately monitoring the population impact of prevention and screening programs among adolescents.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2291-7063
Print ISSN
1188-4517
Pages
pp. 12-18
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-02
Open Access
No
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