Background Patients at increased risk of STI/HIV acquisition are advised to re-attend for re-testing. A previous study showed that ‘generic’ text reminders did not improve re-attendance.
Aim To assess if a personalised text message would increase re- attendance rates of at risk patients who require repeat STI testing.
Methods At-risk patients were sent a text reminder to re-attend for re-testing 6 weeks after their initial visit. They were considered to be ‘at risk’ if they had an acute STI or had attended for emergency contraception at the initial visit, or were MSM. Re-attendance rates were measured for September to December 2012 (control group who received a generic text message advising re-attendance) and February to May 2014 (personalised message group who received a text message containing their first name and several different ways to contact the clinic). Re-attendance was counted within four months of the end of the initial episode of care.
Results The re-attendance rate was significantly higher for the personalised message group (144/266(54%) than the control group: (90/273 (33%) (P = 0.0001) and was also significantly higher in the personalised message group than the control group in patients with the following risks: recent chlamydia (61/123(50%) vs (43/121(36%) (P = 0.03), recent gonorrhoea (42/64(66%) vs (4/21(19%) (P = 0.0003) and MSM (25/45(56%) vs (3/18(16%) (P = 0.006). New STI rates in the re-attending ‘personalised message’ group and controls were 26/144(18%) and 13/90 (14%) (n.s) respectively.
Conclusion Sending a personalised text message as a reminder for re-testing increases re-attendance rates in patients who are at higher risk of STIs.