Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine

Recommendations from the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine on herpes, chlamydia, candidiasis, ureaplasma & gonorrhoea. The Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine (AChSHM) is a Chapter of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Adult Internal Medicine Division that connects and represents Sexual Health Medicine Fellows and trainees in Australia and New Zealand.

Do not screen for chlamydia using serological tests.

Date reviewed: 1 September 2016

There is no role for chlamydia serology as a screening test as antibodies elicited during infection are long-lived, meaning a positive antibody test will not distinguish between a previous and a current infection and are non-specific for genital serovars. Chlamydia serology may be useful in specific circumstances, for example, investigating atypical pneumonia in babies or in identifying late stage Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) infection. Laboratory tests based on nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) technologies remain the first choice for diagnosis of chlamydial infections during pregnancy and in other settings. NAAT testing for identifying LGV serovars of Chlamydia trachomatis has superseded the use of serology for diagnosis but is only available in some specialist settings.

This recommendation is endorsed by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG).

Supporting evidence
  • Chernesky MA. The laboratory diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis infections. The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology 2005; 16(1): 39–44.
  • Papp JR, Schachter J, Gaydos CA, Van Der Pol B. Recommendations for the Laboratory-Based Detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae — 2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 2014; 63(RR02): 1-19.
How this list was made How this list was made

With the assistance of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians as part of Evolve, the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine (AChSHM) Council produced and distributed to its membership an online survey. The survey listed 5 examples of clinical practices in sexual health medicine which may be overused, inappropriate or of limited effectiveness in a given clinical context.

Members were asked to comment on these examples and to suggest other low-value practices which may be a sizeable issue in the specialty. Based on the feedback, 8 items were identified for further investigation by AChSHM Council through an evidence review. This resulted in the final list of 5 recommendations which were endorsed by the Council on 15 December 2016.

In July 2018 the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine undertook a review of their Top-5 recommendations. Due to changes in evidence, and physician support, recommendation 5 was replaced. The removed recommendation read: “Reconsider the use of nucleic acid amplification testing for gonorrhoea in low-prevalence (i.e. <1% prevalence) populations and people who do not belong to a higher risk group.”

Download AChSHM Recommendations