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Evaluating a chlamydia screening programmes’ online results service

Screening scheme receives high approval rating by service users

Screening scheme receives high approval rating by service users

Picture: Science Photo Library

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) remain a serious public health issue. Timely receipt of STI test results allows prompt treatment and health promotion, which in turn reduces the risk of complications and onward transmission. There is little evidence on the best route for providing STI results.

This mixed methods study evaluated an online results service to users involved in self-sampling postal chlamydia screening programmes and chlamydia screening at two genitourinary (GUM) clinics.

Discreet text 

Participants received an ‘NHS no-reply’ text message discreetly informing them of the secure web link to receive results, which were accessed through use of previously agreed information and clinic number. Chlamydia-positive patients were offered online management, a survey (n=152) and qualitative interview (n=36). Chlamydia-negative patients were offered a survey (n=274).

In all, 89% of chlamydia-negative participants accessed their test results in seven days. Of those who were chlamydia-positive; 82% of those screened in GUM and 92% using the postal programme had accessed their results in seven days. Most (91%) of the chlamydia-positive patients were pleased with the service and more than two thirds of those with previous positive STI results reported it was better than their previous experience.

Interviewees reported that access to their results was easy, and they particularly liked the privacy and control over when to view results. Provision of STI results via a secure website was found to be acceptable to patients irrespective of method of testing and test result.


Vari Drennan is professor of healthcare and policy research at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London

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