Community-based trial of screening for Chlamydia trachomatis to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease: the POPI (prevention of pelvic infection) trial.
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BACKGROUND: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is common and can lead to tubal factor infertility, ectopic pregnancy or chronic pelvic pain. Despite major UK government investment in the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, evidence of benefit remains controversial. The main aim of this trial was to investigate whether screening and treatment of chlamydial infection reduced the incidence of PID over 12 months. Secondary aims were to conduct exploratory studies of the role of bacterial vaginosis (BV) in the development of PID and of the natural history of chlamydial infection. DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial with follow up after 12 months. SETTING NON-HEALTHCARE: Common rooms and lecture theatres at 20 universities and further education colleges in Greater London. PARTICIPANTS: 2500 sexually active female students were asked to complete a questionnaire on sexual health and provide self-administered vaginal swabs and smears. INTERVENTION: Vaginal swabs from intervention women were tested for chlamydia by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and those infected referred for treatment. Vaginal swabs from control women were stored and analysed after a year. Vaginal smears were Gram stained and analysed for BV. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Incidence of clinical PID over 12 months in intervention and control groups. Possible cases of PID will be identified from questionnaires and record searches. Confirmation of the diagnosis will be done by detailed review of medical records by three independent researchers blind to whether the woman is in intervention or control group. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials NCT 00115388.