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UG5 SH:24 – User perspectives on an online sexual health service
  1. Harriet Pittaway1,
  2. Sharmani Barnard1,
  3. Emma Wilson2,
  4. Paula Baraitser1
  1. 1King’s Centre for Global Health, King’s College London, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Population Health, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Abstract

Background/introduction The London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark have high levels of sexual health need and services are overstretched. SH:24 offers online testing for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphillis in Lambeth and Southwark, and the ‘GetTested’ randomised controlled trial evaluates its effectiveness.

Aim(s)/objectives This study aimed to document user views on clinic-based and online services.

Methods We analysed qualitative data from a follow-up questionnaire of the GetTested trial of 1337 participants, which included the following question: ‘In your opinion, how could we improve the experience of getting a test from a sexual health service?’ This data was quantitatively analysed against baseline characteristics to generate descriptive statistics. A thematic analysis of the free text responses was performed.

Results Three key themes were identified: interaction with services; ease of use and experienced stigma. A subjective variable was developed to describe whether users needs were met. More participants reported the online service as meeting their needs than the clinic service. Areas needing improvement identified within the clinic arm were: Information prior to service use, Improved confidentiality & Waiting times. Areas needing improvement identified within the online arm were: Lack of personal contact, Difficulty with the self-sampling process, Confidence in ability to self-test.

Discussion/conclusion The problems identified with face-to-face services are overcome by online services and vice versa. In order to be successful, both need to work in collaboration to provide accessible and acceptable services.

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