Exploring pharmacy and home-based sexually transmissible infection testing
UNLABELLED: Background This study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of pharmacy and home-based sexually transmissible infection (STI) screening as alternate testing venues among emergency contraception (EC) users. METHODS: The study included two phases in February 2011-July 2012. In Phase I, customers purchasing EC from eight pharmacies in Manhattan received vouchers for free STI testing at onsite medical clinics. In Phase II, three Facebook ads targeted EC users to connect them with free home-based STI test kits ordered online. Participants completed a self-administered survey. RESULTS: Only 38 participants enrolled in Phase I: 90% female, =29 years (74%), 45% White non-Hispanic and 75% college graduates; 71% were not tested for STIs in the past year and 68% reported a new partner in the past 3 months. None tested positive for STIs. In Phase II, ads led to >45000 click-throughs, 382 completed the survey and 290 requested kits; 28% were returned. Phase II participants were younger and less educated than Phase I participants; six tested positive for STIs. Challenges included recruitment, pharmacy staff participation, advertising with discretion and cost. CONCLUSIONS: This study found low uptake of pharmacy and home-based testing among EC users; however, STI testing in these settings is feasible and the acceptability findings indicate an appeal among younger women for testing in non-traditional settings. Collaborating with and training pharmacy and medical staff are key elements of service provision. Future research should explore how different permutations of expanding screening in non-traditional settings could improve testing uptake and detect additional STI cases.