Background UK prevalence of STIs in young people is rising. Although a similar number of infections are diagnosed in men and women, men account for only 20% of National Chlamydia Screening Program tests. New strategies are required to increase uptake of STI screening in young men.
Methods Stratified random probability survey of men (18–35 years) using computer-assisted personal- and self-interviews, including use of healthcare; sporting activity; acceptability of accessing urine/oral fluid self-taken tests for STIs and HIV in a variety of healthcare and non-healthcare settings.
Results Data were collected from 411 (632 weighted) men median age 28 y; 39% aged <25 y. 29% and 20% of men had previously tested for STIs and HIV, respectively. Two-thirds of men <25 y had tested in the last year vs one-fifth of men >25 y (p<0.0001). 75% of men had seen their Family Physician within the last year. 91% of men would be willing to self-test for STI/ HIV. Primary Care settings (80%), sexual health clinics (67%) and pharmacies (65%) were the most acceptable test kit pick-up points. Further education settings were more popular than school settings as pick-up points (42% vs 28%) and the workplace was acceptable to 22% of men. Of the 391 (69%) men who reported playing sport in the last 4 weeks 18% found a sports club/centre acceptable. Among the 37% men who reported playing the most popular sport (soccer), 47% and 43% said they would be willing to pick-up STI and HIV test kits, respectively, from their club. This did not vary by whether they had previously tested for STI/ HIV.
Conclusions Almost one-third of men under 25 have already tested for STI/ HIV. Most men have seen their Family Physician in the last year, which challenges the assumption that young men infrequently attend primary care. Primary care is a highly acceptable setting for STI/ HIV screening. Non-traditional settings such as soccer clubs are acceptable to some men but further research is needed to better understand the barriers and opportunities with this approach to testing.