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Open Access Research article

Home-based chlamydia testing of young people attending a music festival - who will pee and post?

Rachel Sacks-Davis1, Judy Gold12*, Campbell K Aitken12 and Margaret E Hellard12

Author Affiliations

1 Burnet Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

2 Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:376  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-376

Published: 28 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Chlamydia is most common among young people, but only a small proportion of Australian young people are tested annually. Home-based chlamydia testing has been piloted in several countries to increase testing rates, but uptake has been low. We aimed to identify predictors of uptake of home-based chlamydia testing to inform future testing programs.

Methods

We offered home-based chlamydia testing kits to participants in a sexual behaviour cross-sectional survey conducted at a music festival in Melbourne, Australia. Those who consented received a testing kit and were asked to return their urine or vaginal swab sample via post.

Results

Nine hundred and two sexually active music festival attendees aged 16-29 completed the survey; 313 (35%) opted to receive chlamydia testing kits, and 67 of 313 (21%) returned a specimen for testing. One participant was infected with chlamydia (1% prevalence). Independent predictors of consenting to receive a testing kit included older age, knowing that chlamydia can make women infertile, reporting more than three lifetime sexual partners and inconsistent condom use. Independent predictors of returning a sample to the laboratory included knowing that chlamydia can be asymptomatic, not having had an STI test in the past six months and not living with parents.

Conclusions

A low proportion of participants returned their chlamydia test, suggesting that this model is not ideal for reaching young people. Home-based chlamydia testing is most attractive to those who report engaging in sexual risk behaviours and are aware of the often asymptomatic nature and potential sequelae of chlamydia infection.