Australia: Short Message Service Reminder Intervention Doubles Sexually Transmitted Infection/HIV Retesting Rates Among Men Who Have Sex With Men

Published: June 15, 2011

In the current study, researchers evaluated the effect of a short message service (SMS) reminder system on STI retesting rates among men who have sex with men (MSM).

The SMS program began at a large Australian sexual health clinic in late 2008, offering three to six monthly reminders to HIV-negative MSM reporting high-risk sexual behavior. The authors compared HIV-negative MSM who had tested between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, 2010, who received SMS reminders (n=714), with both a non-SMS group that had tested in the same period (n=1,084) and a pre-SMS (n=1,753) cohort.

HIV/STD retesting rates were compared within nine months for each group. Baseline characteristics were compared, and multivariate logistic regression was used to analyze the association of SMS with retesting rates, as well as to control for any imbalances in the study groups.

In the SMS group, 64 percent retested within nine months, compared with 30 percent of non-SMS participants (p<0.001) and 31 percent of pre-SMS patients (p<0.001). Adjusted for baseline differences, retesting was 4.4 times more likely (95 percent confidence interval 3.5 to 5.5) in the SMS group than in the non-SMS group, and 3.1 times more likely (95 percent CI 2.5 to 3.8) than in the pre-SMS group.

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