Objectives: To evaluate the concordance between clinic-collected extra-genital specimens and self-collected mailed-in extra-genital specimens among participants seeking sexually transmitted infection testing at a free clinic in Hollywood, CA.
Methods: A convenience sample of 210 men who have sex with men were enrolled between February 29, 2016 and December 21, 2016 and received mail-in testing kits for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). All testing was performed using the GeneXpert® CT/NG (Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA).
Results: From the 210 mail-in kits distributed, 149 mail-in kits (71.0%) were returned to the laboratory, resulting in 145 pairs (clinic-collected and mail-in) of rectal test results and 148 pairs of pharyngeal test results for both CT and NG detection. The concordance was 95.0% for all CT rectal tests, 99.3% for all CT pharyngeal tests, 95.7% for all NG rectal tests, and 97.2% for all NG pharyngeal tests.
Conclusion: Roughly two-thirds of mail-in test kits were returned and concordance was generally high, however more than one-third of positive results were missed in mail-in samples. The prevalence of potential false-negative results among mail-in samples warrants caution when implementing mail-in STI testing strategies.