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The importance of contextualisation in giving a diagnosis of genital chlamydial infection: findings from a qualitative study
  1. Hilary Piercy, PhD, Lecturer
  1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hilary Piercy, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sheffield, Bartolome House, Winter Street, Sheffield S3 7ND. E-mail: h.piercy{at}


Objective To explore the impact of diagnostic communication upon the way in which people receive and respond to a diagnosis of chlamydial infection.

Methods A qualitative study examining the responses of individuals to a diagnosis of chlamydial infection. The study was conducted in a genitourinary medicine clinic and a family planning clinic in the Midlands region of the UK. The sample size was 50 and included both males and females. Data collection was by means of unstructured interviews, which were audio-taped and fully transcribed. The principles of grounded theory were followed in the sampling, analysis and exploration of the literature.

Results A diagnosis of chlamydial infection was commonly unexpected and associated with negative reactions, which derived from the social construction of sexually transmitted infections as evidence of breaching the moral code. The way in which the health professional communicated the diagnosis contributed to the patient response, either negatively by reinforcing feelings of self-recrimination or positively by the provision of key information that appeared to be helpful in modifying that response.

Conclusion Sensitive management and the provision of contextualised information serve an important function for those diagnosed with chlamydial infection.

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