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Young people’s view on telephone and webcam consultations for sexual health.

Young people’s view on telephone and webcam consultations for sexual health.

Young people face barriers to accessing sexual health services that may be overcome by the use of telemedicine. Young people’s (aged 16-24) pre-use views on telephone and webcam consultations for sexual health were investigated through a national online survey in Australia. Of the 662 respondents, 85% were willing to have an asymptomatic in-person consultation with a doctor, 63% a telephone consultation, and 29% a webcam consultation. Willingness to have webcam consultations was reported by more men than women (36% vs. 26%, p=0.01), those with same-sex partners (45% vs. 27%, p=<0.01), and those with three or more partners in the prior year (38% vs. 27%, p=0.01). Most (88%) of the sample were willing to receive testing kits and treatment by mail.

If given the option between an in-person, telephone, or webcam consultation, an in-person consultation was the top preference when living 20 minutes from a doctor (83%); telephone was the top preference when living 2 hours from a doctor (51%). Respondents with three or more partners in the prior year had an increased odds of choosing to speak to a doctor by webcam as their top preference compared to an in-person consultation in multivariate (OR 4.24; 95% CI 1.24-14.42) analysis. Free text responses revealed that the main concerns about webcam consultations were about privacy and security because online consultations can be recorded and stored and are potentially retrievable online.
To our knowledge, this is the first investigation of the use of telemedicine consultations between healthcare providers and clients for sexually transmitted disease care. While only about 1/3 of respondents were willing to have webcam consultations, the service may benefit a minority of high risk youth who would not otherwise access a sexual health service. Webcam consultations may be more acceptable if privacy policies are pertinent and accessible.

Disclosure of Interest Statement: CCG was awarded a Melbourne International Research Scholarship, Melbourne International Free Remission Scholarship, and an Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society PhD Top-Up Scholarship to undertake her doctoral research. The funders exercised no influence on the research.

Speakers: Cameryn Garrett
Areas of Interest / Categories: Australasian Sexual Health Conference 2011

Australasian Sexual Health Conference 2011

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