Purpose: To assess sexually active adolescent females' attitudes of home tests for sexually transmitted infections.
Methods: This study represents a follow-up to a study on adolescent attitudes toward different sampling methods for STI testing. In the initial study participants completed a pre-examination health survey, provided first void urine (FVU) and self-collected vaginal swab samples followed by a pelvic examination with STI screening by endocervical swabs. Participants' attitudes about the three collection techniques were assessed at the end of the visit. For the current study, this same group of ethnically diverse adolescents (13-20-years-old) was contacted by telephone 9 months after their initial clinic visit to re-assess their attitudes about the three specimen collection techniques and to evaluate their attitudes regarding the use of home STI testing. Friedman tests of mean ranks evaluated teens' rankings of STI sampling methods and multivariate regression analysis was used to identify predictors of home test preference.
Results: Home urine testing was the first choice for STI screening followed by the FVU, self-obtained vaginal swab and endocervical swab collected in a clinical setting. FVU was preferred to self-collected vaginal swabs (p = .01). Adolescents who worried about having an STI were more likely to favor home urine testing (OR 5.5, p = .01). Only 22% would seek any STI screening if asymptomatic.
Conclusions: Because young women preferred home STI testing, this may be an additional option, as the foundation for such testing kits has progressed. Adolescent preferences may be heavily influenced by the pelvic examination experience. Because of the largely asymptomatic nature of CT infections, multiple screening options (clinical and home-based) need to be available to increase access to care.