Facilitating chlamydia testing among young people: A randomised controlled trial in cyberspace

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Journal Article
Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2012, 88 (8), pp. 568 - 573
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Objectives: Chlamydia notifications have been rising in Australia for over a decade and are highest in young people. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of an internet-based intervention on chlamydia testing among young people 16-25 years. Methods: In this randomised controlled trial, recruitment, data collection, study interventions and follow-up occurred entirely in cyberspace, facilitated by a website. Eligible participants were aged 16-25 years and resided in Australia. The intervention group received personalised emails inviting interaction about chlamydia testing, while the control group received regular impersonal emails. Primary outcome was self-reported chlamydia testing at 6-month follow-up; secondary outcomes were condom use and changes in knowledge and attitudes. Results: 704 young people completed baseline information, 40 were excluded and five withdrew prior to follow-up. The follow-up rate was 47.3% overall. In the intervention group, 40.6% (95% CI 30.7% to 51.1%) reported having had a chlamydia test at follow-up compared with 31.0% (95% CI 24.8% to 37.2%) in the control group (p=0.07). A per-protocol analysis found that those who engaged in email interaction were more likely to report chlamydia test uptake compared with those in the control group (52.5%, 95% CI 39.3 to 65.4% cf 31.0%, 95% CI 24.8% to 37.2%, p=0.002). There were no differences in secondary outcomes between groups. Conclusions: This is the first randomised controlled trial undertaken in cyberspace to promote chlamydia testing. E-technology may be useful in promoting chlamydia testing and healthcare seeking behaviour in young people.
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