Objective: To evaluate data from an online chlamydia testing program (OLC) developed to increase young people's access to testing for chlamydia, the most commonly notified disease in Australia and Western Australia, with a high proportion of notifications among young people (< 30 years).
Design and setting: The OLC was launched in February 2010, and our study covers the period February 2010 to June 2011. Without needing to first visit a doctor, OLC participants receive risk self-assessment, education, testing, and, if necessary, referral for treatment, and can complete an online satisfaction survey.
Main outcome measures: Number and proportion of downloaded pathology forms that resulted in a test; demographic characteristics of participants; prevalence of chlamydia; completeness and timeliness of follow-up of positive test results; and participant satisfaction.
Results: More than half (56%) of the 675 OLC pathology form downloads resulted in a test, and chlamydia was detected in 18% (66/377). Of those tested, over half were men (55%), and 71% were aged < 30 years. All participants with a positive test result received appropriate clinical management, with 50% being treated within 7 days of specimen collection. Of the 17% (55/332) who completed an online satisfaction survey, almost all said they would recommend the service to a friend.
Conclusion: Internet-based screening for chlamydia is an effective means of increasing access to testing for young people at risk of sexually transmitted infections and is a valuable addition to opportunistic, clinic-based strategies.