Today, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) launches a nationwide study into chlamydia and gonorrhoea. These are the most common reported sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Netherlands. Through this study, RIVM aims to gain a better insight into the prevalence of these STIs among those aged 16 to 34 years.
Sexual health in the Netherlands
The study, entitled ‘Prevalentieonderzoek Chlamydia en Gonorroe in Nederland’ (PECAN), supplements the nationwide study into sexual health in the Netherlands. The latter sexual health study is a joint effort by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Rutgers, STI AIDS Netherlands (Soa Aids Nederland), RIVM and the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD). Participants in the sexual health study aged 16 to 34 years may be asked if they also wish to take part in the PECAN study. If they do, they will receive information of the PECAN study and a free STI home sampling kit. Participants can then send their home sampling kit to a lab, where it will be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
RIVM currently bases its monitoring of chlamydia and gonorrhoea on sexual health clinic data. However, these data do not offer a comprehensive picture, as they only concern the results of STI tests of those who initiate testing themselves. People may decide to get tested because they have symptoms, for example, or because they feel they have been at risk of contracting an STI. But people without symptoms may also have STIs. Through this supplementary study, RIVM hopes to gain better insight into the prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhoea in the Netherlands. The first results of this study are expected to become available in 2024.
More information (in Dutch) can be found at www.rivm.nl/pecan.