OBJECTIVE: An American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin published in 2009 recommended that cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21 years and women younger than 30 years should be rescreened every 2 years rather than annually. The purpose of this study is to estimate the effect that decreased frequency of cervical cancer screening would have on chlamydia screening, which is recommended annually for sexually active women aged 25 years or younger.
METHODS: Using an administrative database of medical claims from commercially insured girls and women, we compared annual chlamydia screening rates of sexually active adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 25 years in 2007 among those who underwent cervical cancer screening and those who were not screened for cervical cancer.
RESULTS: We identified 701,193 sexually active adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 25 years. Chlamydia screening rates were significantly higher among adolescent girls and young women who underwent cervical cancer screening compared with those who did not: 43.6% compared with 9.5% for adolescent girls and young women aged 15 to 20 years and 36.1% compared with 12.2% for women aged 21 to 25 years. Among adolescent girls and young women identified as sexually active in 2007, 90.5% had visits for reproductive health services other than cervical cancer screening that could provide opportunities for chlamydia screening.
CONCLUSION: Although the revised American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin recommending less frequent cervical cancer screening will likely reduce chlamydia screening rates in adolescent girls and young women, health care providers should be aware of other opportunities for chlamydial testing. Options include patient self-collected vaginal swabs and urine specimens collected during visits at which adolescent girls and young women seek other reproductive health or preventive services.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II