Background: Chlamydia trachomatis screening test positivity among women in the United States has remained high, leading researchers to suggest that programs should also screen men. Men have been screened in Philadelphia prisons since 2002. Philadelphia prisons are similar to jails in other jurisdictions; in 2003 the median duration of incarceration was 17 days. We studied whether screening and treating men in prison influenced C. trachomatis infection among women living in their communities.
Methods: We divided the city into 2 areas: “high-treatment” (high percentage of men were treated for C. trachomatis detected in prison) and “low-treatment” (low percentage of men were treated for C. trachomatis detected in prison). We compared changes in test positivity among women from those areas, who were tested in family planning clinics during the 2 years before versus the 3 years after the male prison screening program began.
Results: In 2002 to 2004, prison screening led to treatment of 1054 infections among 23,203 men aged 20 to 24 years living in high-treatment areas and 98 infections among 21,057 men aged 20 to 24 years in low-treatment areas. Test positivity declined among 20- to 24-year-old women in both areas. In high-treatment areas, positivity decreased 9.1% per year from 1999 to 2001 and 4.9% per year from 2001 to 2004. In low-treatment areas, positivity decreased 13.2% per year from 1999 to 2001 and 7.5% per year from 2001 to 2004.
Conclusion: C. trachomatis test positivity among 20- to 24-year-old women tested in family planning clinics continued to decrease after men were treated for C. trachomatis; however, we found no evidence that the continued decrease was due to the new prison screening program.