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Is SMS text or email more effective for recruitment into sexual health research?
  1. Eric P F Chow1,2,3,
  2. Christopher K Fairley1,2,
  3. David M Lee2,
  4. Jason J Ong1,2,
  5. Rashidur Rahman2,
  6. Afrizal Afrizal2,
  7. Tiffany R Phillips1,2
  1. 1 Central Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Associate Professor Eric P F Chow, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia; eric.chow{at}

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Dear Editor,

High rates of participation in epidemiological research (~90%) were observed in the 1950s, but the rates subsequently declined to 20%–30%.1 Researchers have attempted different approaches to increase participation, including web-based surveys, personalised emails and incentives.2

Our ‘Geographical location of meeting Partners Survey (GPS)’ Study used an anonymous online survey to understand how individuals met their sexual partners in Victoria, Australia. Individuals aged ≥16 years, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, were eligible. Upon completion, individuals could participate in a lucky draw to win an AU$50 gift card.

Two approaches—short message service (SMS) texts and emails—were used to recruit clients attending the Melbourne Sexual …

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  • Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti

  • Twitter @EricPFChow, @drtrphillips

  • Contributors EPFC, TRP and CF conceived the study and designed the study. EPFC and TRP oversaw the study. EPFC performed data analyses and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. AA and RR assisted with sending automated emails and SMS to MSHC clients for the 'Geographical location of meeting Partners Survey' (GPS) Study. EPFC, CF, DML, JJO, RR and AA designed and set up the personalised email that contains information on the HIV/STI tests and vaccination. All authors were involved in data interpretation, revising the manuscript for important intellectual content and approving the final version. The corresponding author had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.

  • Funding This study was supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant (GNT1172873). EPFC and JJO are each supported by an Australian NHMRC Emerging Leadership Investigator Grant (GNT1172873 and GNT1193955, respectively). CKF is supported by an Australian NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant (GNT1172900).

  • Disclaimer NHMRC has no direct involvement in the study.

  • Competing interests EPFC is an editoral fellow of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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