Background STD control efforts in the US and western Europe have had less than desirable impact, in part due to an inability to reach populations of men at risk for these diseases. We are currently conducting a study of programme options, including self-collection of specimens and community based access to test kits, that would increase men’s utilisation of screening services.
Methods Using peer-incentivized referral, a type of snowball sampling, beginning with men attending an STD clinic in the US, we are interviewing men in the community to determine the optimal combination of programme features that would encourage asymptomatic STD screening. To demonstrate the relevance of these men’s opinions in terms of reaching a high prevalence group, they were tested for STDs at the time of their interview. Urine samples were collected and rectal sampling was offered to all men. STD testing was performed using nucleic acid amplification testing.
Results To date, 25 men from the community have been enrolled and interviewed. 40% of participants were black, 40% were white, and 20% were Hispanic. The median age of participants is 24. Urine samples were available for testing from all 25 men and rectal samples were available from 5 men. 4 (16%) men tested positive for a STD: 2 (8%) men tested positive for chlamydia and 2 (8%) men tested positive for trichomonas. No gonococcal infections were detected. None of the rectal samples had a positive result.
Conclusion While these results represent pilot data, the study is ongoing and given the nature of snowball sampling, the sample size will expand rapidly. Early prevalence rates are higher than have been reported in nationally representative surveys in the US. This suggests that we are recruiting from a population of interest to gather opinions about preferred screening options.
- sexually transmitted disease
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