Knowledge and acceptability of Chlamydia trachomatis screening among pregnant women and their partners; a cross-sectional study
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BACKGROUND: Chlamydia trachomatis infections in pregnancy can cause maternal disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes and neonatal disease, which is why chlamydia screening during pregnancy has been advocated. The effectiveness of a screening program depends on the knowledge of health care professionals, women and partners and the acceptability for screening of the target population. We assessed the knowledge of chlamydia infection among pregnant women and their partners in the Netherlands, their attitudes towards testing, and their experiences of being offered a chlamydia test. In addition, we evaluated the association between participants' background characteristics and knowledge of chlamydia. METHODS: Pregnant women aged ≤ 30 years and their partners (regardless of their age) attending one of the participating primary midwifery care practices in the Netherlands were invited to participate. All participants completed a questionnaire, pregnant women provided a vaginal swab and partners provided a urine sample to test for C. trachomatis. RESULTS: In total, 383 pregnant women and 282 partners participated in the study of whom 1.9% women and 2.6% partners tested chlamydia positive. Participants had high levels of awareness (92.8%) of chlamydial infection. They were knowledgeable about the risk of chlamydia infection; median knowledge score was 9.0 out of 12.0. Lower knowledge scores were found among partners (p-value <0.001), younger aged (p-value 0.02), non-western origin (p-value <0.001), low educational level (p-value <0.001), and no history of sexually transmitted infections (p-value <0.001). In total, 78% of respondents indicated that when pregnant women are tested for chlamydia, their partners should also be tested; 54% believed that all women should routinely be tested. Pregnant women more often indicated than partners that testing partners for chlamydial infection was not necessary (p-value <0.001). The majority of pregnant women (56.2%) and partners (59.2%) felt satisfied by being offered the test during antenatal care. CONCLUSION: Pregnant women and their partners were knowledgeable about chlamydial infection, found testing, both pregnant women and their partners, for chlamydia acceptable and not stigmatizing.
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