Sex Transm Infect doi:10.1136/sextrans-2011-050406
  • Health services research
  • Original article

Where do young men want to access STI screening? A stratified random probability sample survey of young men in Great Britain

Open Access
  1. Claudia S Estcourt1
  1. 1Queen Mary University of London, Blizard Institute, Barts Sexual Health Centre, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Research Department of Infection and Population Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Mayfield House, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr John M Saunders, Queen Mary University of London, Blizard Institute, Centre for Immunology and Infectious Disease: Sexual Health & HIV, Barts Sexual Health Centre, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London EC1A 7BE, UK; j.saunders{at}
  1. Contributors JC had the original idea for the paper. CSE was the principal investigator of the study and obtained funding from the National Institute for Health Research. JMS and LJS developed the questions for the survey. JMS wrote the first draft of the paper and coordinated the writing of the paper, with all authors contributing to subsequent drafts. Plans for analysis were led by CHM who undertook all statistical analyses. CSE is the paper's guarantor.

  • Accepted 20 March 2012
  • Published Online First 17 April 2012


Objectives Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in UK young people remain high in men and women. However, the National Chlamydia Screening Programme has had limited success in reaching men. The authors explored the acceptability of various medical, recreational and sports venues as settings to access self-collected testing kits for STIs and HIV among men in the general population and those who participate in sport.

Methods A stratified random probability survey of 411 (weighted n=632) men in Great Britain aged 18–35 years using computer-assisted personal and self-interviews.

Results Young men engaged well with healthcare with 93.5% registered with, and 75.3% having seen, a general practitioner in the last year. 28.7% and 19.8% had previously screened for STIs and HIV, respectively. Willingness to access self-collected tests for STIs (85.1%) and HIV (86.9%) was high. The most acceptable pick-up points for testing kits were general practice 79.9%, GUM 66.8% and pharmacy 65.4%. There was a low acceptability of sport venues as pick-up points in men as a whole (11.7%), but this was greater among those who participated in sport (53.9%).

Conclusions Healthcare settings were the most acceptable places for accessing STI and HIV self-testing kits. Although young men frequently access general practice, currently little STI screening occurs in this setting. There is considerable potential to screen large numbers of men and find high rates of infection through screening in general practice. While non-clinical settings are acceptable to a minority of men, more research is needed to understand how these venues could be used most effectively.


  • Funding This article represents independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research scheme (RP-PG-0707-10208). The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, NIHR or the Department of Health.

  • Competing interests None.

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

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