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‘Yeah, why not?’ Evaluating the acceptability of chlamydia testing in general practice to young people living in rural Australia: a mixed method approach

‘Yeah, why not?’ Evaluating the acceptability of chlamydia testing in general practice to young people living in rural Australia: a mixed method approach

Background: RACGP ‘Red Book’ guidelines recommend annual chlamydia testing for women and men aged 16–29 years, but there are a number of barriers to rural young people seeking testing in their local area. This mixed method analysis investigates the acceptability of chlamydia testing ingeneral practice for young adults living in rural Australia. 

Methods: Quantitative and qualitative data collected as part of the Australian Chlamydia Control Effectiveness Pilot (ACCEPt) were used. Patients aged 16–29 attending 150 mostly rural participating clinics were asked to complete a questionnaire and provide a specimen for chlamydia testing. The questionnaire asked about future chlamydia testing intent and attitudes towards chlamydia testing reminders. In addition, interviews were conducted with 20 patients attending participating clinics.

Results: 4284 men and women completed questionnaires (response rate = 70%). Over 80% of participants were attending a general practitioner (GP) in their local area and 76% were attending for a non–sexual health reason. Most respondents (86%; 80% males versus 88% females, p<.01) were willing to have another chlamydia test in 12 months and 91% (86% males versus 93% females, p<.01) found reminders to have another test in 12 months acceptable. Interview participants favoured being ‘offered’ the test as an opportunity rather than a mandate, and supported being offered the test in a non–sexual health consultation. Patients were also strongly in support of being reminded to have another test in 12 months. Cost of the test was seen as a potentially significant barrier, and female participants expressed a preference to consult with female GPs.

Conclusions: Young people in rural areas will agree to a chlamydia test if offered by their local GP, even if they are attending for a non–sexual health reason. Cost of the test and lack of female GPs were identified as deterrents to testing. Disclosure of Interest Statement: ACCEPt was commissioned and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Additional funding has been received from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Victorian Department of Health and NSW Health.

Speakers: Alaina Vaisey

Australian Society for HIV 2013

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