Home sampling kits for sexually transmitted infections: preferences and concerns of men who have sex with men

Cult Health Sex. 2011 Mar;13(3):343-53. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2010.535018.


The increasing prevalence of sexually transmitted infection (STI) and delays in access to sexual health care among men who have sex with men are a major public health concern in the UK. This qualitative study, involving semi-structured interviews with 24 men recruited from a genitourinary medicine clinic in Brighton, UK, explored their views towards the introduction of home sampling kits for STI into clinical practice. Participants had previously self-sampled for rectal and oropharyngeal specimens and completed a survey on the acceptability of self-sampling. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using a framework approach. Participants preferred to access home sampling kits from medical venues rather than gay social venues due to privacy concerns and fear of being ridiculed by peers. Perceived societal homophobia led to skepticism towards accessing home sampling kits in commercial venues. Assurance about specimen delivery and receiving test results from clinics was important. Views about using home sampling kits for HIV testing were mixed. Home sampling kits were viewed as an adjunct to clinics, but clinic attendance was preferred if symptomatic. Home sampling kits could be a viable alternative to meet the increasing demand for sexual health services, but to improve the home sampling kit uptake the method of service provision must be culturally sensitive and acceptable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • England
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Young Adult


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic