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Self-sampling for oropharyngeal and rectal specimens to screen for sexually transmitted infections: acceptability among men who have sex with men
  1. Sonali S Wayal (sonaliwayal{at}yahoo.com)
  1. Brighton and Sussex Medical School, United Kingdom
    1. Carrie Llewellyn (c.d.llewellyn{at}bsms.ac.uk)
    1. Brighton and Sussex Medical School, United Kingdom
      1. Helen Smith, Prof (h.e.smith{at}bsms.ac.uk)
      1. Brighton and Sussex Medical School, United Kingdom
        1. Matthew Hankins (m.c.hankins{at}bsms.ac.uk)
        1. Brighton and Sussex Medical School, United Kingdom
          1. Alan K Phillips (alan.phillips{at}bsuh.nhs.uk)
          1. BSUH, United Kingdom
            1. Daniel Richardson (daniel.richardson{at}bsuh.nhs.uk)
            1. Royal Sussex County Hospital, United Kingdom
              1. Martin Fisher (martin.fisher{at}bsuh.nhs.uk)
              1. Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, United Kingdom

                Abstract

                Objectives: To explore the feasibility and acceptability of self-sampling for oropharyngeal and rectal specimens to screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among men who have sex with men (MSM). Participants' willingness to self-sample at home was also explored.

                Methods: Participants of a study to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of self-versus nurse-taken oropharyngeal and rectal specimens were surveyed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of self-sampling using specimen collection methods (gargle, OraSure® mouth pad to collect oropharyngeal specimens and APTIMA® unisex swabs to collect rectal and pharyngeal specimens). Acceptability was measured using a five-point Likert-type response scale (example: 1= strongly disagree, 5= strongly agree). Open-ended questions explored participants' experiences of self-sampling.

                Results: Of 334 eligible MSM, 301 (90%) participated in the study. 301 participants self-sampled using gargle and rectal and pharyngeal swabs and 288 using mouth pad. Complete questionnaire data from 274 participants showed that feasibility and acceptability of self-sampling using gargle and mouth pad was higher (92%) than pharyngeal swabs (76%). Rectal swabs were acceptable to 82% participants. Despite some discomfort and difficulty in using swabs, 76% were willing to use all four methods for self-sampling in future. Home sampling was acceptable [84%] as it was perceived to be less intrusive and more convenient than a clinic visit and likely to reduce GUM waiting time.

                Conclusions: Self-sampling for rectal and oropharyngeal specimens is feasible and acceptable to MSM. Self-sampling can be offered as an alternative to clinic-based testing and has the potential to improve choice, access and uptake of screening for STIs.

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