Sex Transm Infect 88:568-573 doi:10.1136/sextrans-2011-050124
  • Behaviour

Facilitating chlamydia testing among young people: a randomised controlled trial in cyberspace

Editor's Choice
  1. Tim Usherwood1
  1. 1Discipline of General Practice, Sydney Medical School-Westmead, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Sydney University Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, Children's Hospital Westmead, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4Inspire Foundation, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Melissa Kang, Discipline of General Practice, Sydney Medical School-Westmead, PO Box 154, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia; melissa.kang{at}
  1. Contributors MK prepared the first draft of the manuscript and completed revisions after discussion with the entire research team. MK, RS, AM, MW and TU participated in study design. MK wrote the content of the website. AR, RS, AM and MW reviewed website content. MK and MW recruited and facilitated the Youth Advisory Committee. AR and MK recruited study participants, delivered the intervention and collected all data. MK, AR, JP and TU completed data analysis. All authors assisted with interpretation of findings.

  • Accepted 4 June 2012
  • Published Online First 4 July 2012


Objectives Chlamydia notifications have been rising in Australia for over a decade and are highest in young people. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of an internet-based intervention on chlamydia testing among young people 16–25 years.

Methods In this randomised controlled trial, recruitment, data collection, study interventions and follow-up occurred entirely in cyberspace, facilitated by a website. Eligible participants were aged 16–25 years and resided in Australia. The intervention group received personalised emails inviting interaction about chlamydia testing, while the control group received regular impersonal emails. Primary outcome was self-reported chlamydia testing at 6-month follow-up; secondary outcomes were condom use and changes in knowledge and attitudes.

Results 704 young people completed baseline information, 40 were excluded and five withdrew prior to follow-up. The follow-up rate was 47.3% overall. In the intervention group, 40.6% (95% CI 30.7% to 51.1%) reported having had a chlamydia test at follow-up compared with 31.0% (95% CI 24.8% to 37.2%) in the control group (p=0.07). A per-protocol analysis found that those who engaged in email interaction were more likely to report chlamydia test uptake compared with those in the control group (52.5%, 95% CI 39.3 to 65.4% cf 31.0%, 95% CI 24.8% to 37.2%, p=0.002). There were no differences in secondary outcomes between groups.

Conclusions This is the first randomised controlled trial undertaken in cyberspace to promote chlamydia testing. E-technology may be useful in promoting chlamydia testing and healthcare seeking behaviour in young people.


  • Funding This study was funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing as part of the Chlamydia Targeted Grants Programme.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.