STI series: Running a Chlamydia screening pharmacy


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06 Apr 2016

Chlamydia Trachomatis is a bacterial virus and found in semen and vaginal fluids of those carrying the infection, writes sex and relationships therapist Emma Ziff.

Join us each day this week as we examine the role of pharmacy in Chlamydia screening. Missed yesterday’s instalment? Click here

Pharmacies have undertaken Chlamydia screening in-house, and it has been extremely successful for both patients and the pharmacy.

If the service is commissioned to the pharmacy, there is financial support in setting it up from local commissioners. You will also be reimbursed for any antibiotics distributed to customers.

There is a list of core requirements to setting the service up, running it efficiently and in accordance with clinical guidance. All the information can be found on http://www.chlamydiascreening.nhs.uk/

The NCSP (National Chlamydia Screening Programme) has set out a Chlamydia testing service specification and the requirements for a pharmacy-based screening.

It includes the administration of the antibiotic Azithromycin without prescription. It can take up to three months to organise running this programme so do make sure you give yourself time.

Running a Chlamydia-screening pharmacy

  • Customers can request a test from you or you can offer one during a consultation. Remember to advise them to also be checked for other STIs if they could have placed themselves at risk
  • Instructions for using the kit are on the packaging, but they need to be able to discuss it with you if required
  • The testing kit could be issued with a supply of condoms
  • The patient can perform the test at home or in the pharmacy if there are patient facilities
  • The patient sends the sample in a prepaid envelope to the approved laboratory
  • The laboratory will then inform the patient of the result within 7 to 10 days in a choice of ways that is convenient to the patient
  • If the result is positive, then the patient returns to the pharmacy for advice and appropriate treatment, which can include antibiotics directly from you or sent for further testing at a sexual health clinic or GP surgery.

Testing may involve using a swab or urinating in to a container. If you feel the patient is likely to have the infection, you may want to start the treatment before they receive the results. Chlamydia can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics if taken correctly.

It is important that the patient knows that they need to abstain from sex, even with a condom, until they have received their test results and completed the treatment if it was positive. They may need to come back for further testing if:

  • They had sex before the treatment was finished
  • Forgot to take the medication or was not taken correctly
  • The symptoms still remain
  • They were treated for Chlamydia while pregnant.

Come back for our final instalment tomorrow to find out how best to market your service.


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