Patient, staffing and health centre factors associated with annual testing for sexually transmissible infections in remote primary health centres

Belinda Hengel*, Handan Wand, James Ward, Alice Rumbold, Linda Garton, Debbie Taylor-Thomson, Bronwyn Silver, Skye McGregor, Amalie Dyda, Jacqueline Mein, Janet Knox, Lisa Maher, John Kaldor, Rebecca Guy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In high-incidence Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) settings, annual re-testing is an important public health strategy. Using baseline laboratory data (2009-10) from a cluster randomised trial in 67 remote Aboriginal communities, the extent of re-testing was determined, along with the associated patient, staffing and health centre factors. 

Methods: Annual testing was defined as re-testing in 9-15 months (guideline recommendation) and a broader time period of 5-15 months following an initial negative CT/NG test. Random effects logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with re-testing. 

Results: Of 10 559 individuals aged ≥16 years with an initial negative CT/NG test (median age = 25 years), 20.3% had a re-test in 9-15 months (23.6% females vs 15.4% males, P < 0.001) and 35.2% in 5-15 months (40.9% females vs 26.5% males, P < 0.001). Factors independently associated with re-testing in 9-15 months in both males and females were: younger age (16-19, 20-24 years); and attending a centre that sees predominantly (>90%) Aboriginal people. Additional factors independently associated with re-testing for females were: being aged 25-29 years, attending a centre that used electronic medical records, and for males, attending a health centre that employed Aboriginal health workers and more male staff. 

Conclusions: Approximately 20% of people were re-tested within 9-15 months. Re-testing was more common in younger individuals. Findings highlight the importance of recall systems, Aboriginal health workers and male staff to facilitate annual re-testing. Further initiatives may be needed to increase re-testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-281
Number of pages8
JournalSexual Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Aboriginal
  • annual screening
  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhoea
  • guidelines
  • primary health care
  • re-testing

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