Web-Based Home STD Tests Can Work

One-third of women successfully used free kits, study found

WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- More than a third of young women are willing and able to use home test kits for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, researchers at Johns Hopkins University report.

Of the 1,100 free test kits distributed to Maryland women (most under age 25), 400 samples were returned to Hopkins. Ten percent of the samples were positive for chlamydia. Three women tested positive for gonorrhea.

Most of the women (87 percent) ordered the kits via the Internet, while the others picked up the kits at designated pharmacies and recreation centers. Results were made available to the women within two weeks using a confidential telephone service. The kits were funded by the Baltimore Health Department.

"Our results confirm that home test kits ordered via the Internet provided young women with a safe and effective means for protecting their sexual reproductive health," lead investigator and infectious disease specialist Charlotte Gaydos said in a prepared statement.

"The Internet is how the current generation does business -- from researching homework to shopping for clothes. Not surprisingly, they prefer using the Internet to also help take care of their health," said Gaydos, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Each kit contained a sterile vaginal swab, instructions for using it, sealed containers for the self-collected swabs and a postage-paid return envelope to mail the sample to Johns Hopkins.

It's believed this is the first study to show that online access to self-sampling kits is an effective way to address the detection, spread and treatment of chlamydia.

The study was presented Wednesday at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting in Atlanta.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about STDs.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, news release, June 8, 2005
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