Outreach sexual infection screening and postal tests in men who have sex with men: are they comparable to clinic screening?

Published: June 9, 2014

Abstract

Men who have sex with men (MSM) have higher rates of poor sexual health. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has produced guidance on increasing the uptake of HIV testing to reduce undiagnosed infection in MSM. We report the results of a pilot outreach sexually transmitted infection service using nurse-delivered screening and self-sampled postal testing at a sex on premises venue with comparison made against a sexual health clinic service. Thirty men were included in each group. Users of the nurse-delivered and postal services were older (nurse service median age 57.5 years vs. postal kit service 47 years vs. clinic 35.5 years, p ≤ 0.001). Outreach groups were less likely to have undertaken sexually transmitted infection testing previously than the clinic group (53.3% and 60% vs. 93.3%, p ≤ 0.001). Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoea testing uptake was comparable across groups (nurse outreach 86.6%, ‘do it yourself’ postal kit 100% vs. clinic 100%, p = 0.032), but uptake for blood tests was lower in the postal kit group (nurse outreach 83.3%, postal kit 53.3% vs. clinic 100%, p ≤ 0.001). No significant difference in active sexually transmitted infection positivity across the groups was observed. This combination outreach screening approach is effective in targeting MSM who use sex on premises venues.

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