BACKGROUND: Chlamydia is most common among young people, but only a small proportion of Australian young people are tested annually. Home-based chlamydia testing has been piloted in several countries to increase testing rates, but uptake has been low. We aimed to identify predictors of uptake of home-based chlamydia testing to inform future testing programs.
METHODS: We offered home-based chlamydia testing kits to participants in a sexual behaviour cross-sectional survey conducted at a music festival in Melbourne, Australia. Those who consented received a testing kit and were asked to return their urine or vaginal swab sample via post.
RESULTS: Nine hundred and two sexually active music festival attendees aged 16-29 completed the survey; 313 (35%) opted to receive chlamydia testing kits, and 67 of 313 (21%) returned a specimen for testing. One participant was infected with chlamydia (1% prevalence). Independent predictors of consenting to receive a testing kit included older age, knowing that chlamydia can make women infertile, reporting more than three lifetime sexual partners and inconsistent condom use. Independent predictors of returning a sample to the laboratory included knowing that chlamydia can be asymptomatic, not having had an STI test in the past six months and not living with parents.
CONCLUSIONS: A low proportion of participants returned their chlamydia test, suggesting that this model is not ideal for reaching young people. Home-based chlamydia testing is most attractive to those who report engaging in sexual risk behaviours and are aware of the often asymptomatic nature and potential sequelae of chlamydia infection.