Promotion and uptake of a new online partner notification and retesting reminder service for gay men

Sex Health. 2012 Sep;9(4):360-7. doi: 10.1071/SH11132.


Background: In 2006, two new innovative features were added to a website called WhyTest which provided HIV/sexually transmissable infection (STI) information for gay men. The features were the 'Tell them' service allowing visitors to forward anonymous e-postcard or short message services (SMS) to sexual partners who may have been exposed to an STI, and the 'Remind me' service allowing visitors to register for a 3-, 6- or 12-monthly SMS reminder for a sexual health check. We describe the uptake of the new website functionality, and recognition of a health promotion campaign conducted in January-June 2007 to promote these new features.

Methods: We used Poisson regression to assess trends in monthly partner notification messages and STI testing reminders sent in August 2007-June 2010. We also analysed 2007 Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey data to measure recall of the campaign.

Results: A total of 7923 partner notification messages were sent in the period August 2007-June 2010, with a significant increasing trend in monthly messages sent (P<0001). Of the total messages sent, 7581 (96%) were by SMS and 342 (4%) by e-postcards. A total of 1023 STI testing reminders were sent in the same period, with a significant increasing trend in monthly reminders sent (P<0.001); 516 reminders were by SMS (50.4%) and 507 by email (49.6%). The 2007 Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey showed that 55% of the 2342 participants recognised the WhyTest image in the campaign.

Conclusion: There was high awareness of WhyTest campaign images and the SMS partner notification service was more popular than the e-postcard feature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Contact Tracing / methods*
  • Contact Tracing / statistics & numerical data
  • Electronic Mail
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Promotion*
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Reminder Systems*
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission
  • Surveys and Questionnaires