Background With traditional specialist sexual-health services overstretched, community pharmacies have been deployed to provide chlamydia testing. We have undertaken a systematic-review to estimate prevalence of chlamydia infection among those screened for chlamydia in community pharmacies. We also reviewed the feasibility/acceptability of this service.
Methods Systematic searches were conducted in electronic databases and grey literature was solicited from experts. Data were extracted on study population, sample size and prevalence of chlamydia to report pooled proportion of chlamydia infection using random effect model.
Results 8 papers and reports which contributed to the final model. The proportional meta-analysis showed a pooled proportion positive for chlamydia of 7.7% (95% CI 5.2% to 10.6%). All the studies were reported on <24 years age group and there was only limited data on males. Hence no separate analyses were performed according to age group or gender. Chlamydia screening programs in community pharmacies tend to be targeted at certain client groups for example, young people, those seeking emergency contraception in pharmacies. Studies reviewed reported that clients and pharmacists find chlamydia services via community pharmacy broadly acceptable. However the uptake of the service was much lower than expected and tended not to include men and ethnic minorities.
Conclusion The reported prevalence of chlamydia infection in pharmacy setting is similar to estimates from general practice thus giving wider choice of care to young people. This new approach is acceptable to both young people and pharmacists. Encouraging men and ethnic minorities to access community pharmacy based chlamydia services remains a challenge.
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