Sexually Transmitted Infections Vol. 88; No. 5: P. 363-367 (08..12)
Rates and incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis continue to increase, though studies of CT prevalence among university students, known to engage in high-risk activities, are limited by poor screening rates. Utilization of self-obtained sample (SoS) kits in private student residencies may reduce barriers to screening.
In the current study, the researchers sought to determine the relative effectiveness and comparative effectiveness of two SoS kit distribution mechanisms: one, in which kits were directly provided to students, and another, that encouraged students to order kits online.
During 2010-11, 391 residents of six university dormitories received training describing CT, the project and SoS kit use. A total of 163 students in three dorms were provided the kits, and 175 others were directed to a website (http://www.iwantthekit.org).
Of provided kits, 12 (8 females) were returned and 2 (16.7 percent; both females) were positive. Of just three website-requested kits, all were returned (all females) and none were positive. A post-project survey examining non-participation found 26.2 percent of students were unaware of the project (no difference by gender or dormitory) and 58.5 percent of females cited prior CT screening as part of a medical exam.
“Though direct kit distribution was more effective in student screening engagement, overall participation was poor despite widespread advertising. The methodology of online testing and SoS kits has been well-validated elsewhere, but research is needed to successfully engage university students in screening and refine SoS target populations in light of changing health care policies,” the researchers concluded.