Perceptions of Self-Testing for Chlamydia: Understanding and Predicting Self-Test Use

Rachael Powell, John Marriott, Helen M Pattison

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Background: Self-testing technology allows people to test themselves for chlamydia without professional support. This may result in reassurance and wider access to chlamydia testing, but anxiety could occur on receipt of positive results. This study aimed to identify factors important in understanding self-testing for chlamydia outside formal screening contexts, to explore the potential impacts of self-testing on individuals, and to identify theoretical constructs to form a Framework for future research and intervention development. Methods: Eighteen university students participated in semi-structured interviews; eleven had self-tested for chlamydia. Data were analysed thematically using a Framework approach. Results: Perceived benefits of self-testing included its being convenient, anonymous and not requiring physical examination. There was concern about test accuracy and some participants lacked confidence in using vulvo-vaginal swabs. While some participants expressed concern about the absence of professional support, all said they would seek help on receiving a positive result. Factors identified in Protection Motivation Theory and the Theory of Planned Behaviour, such as response efficacy and self-efficacy, were found to be highly salient to participants in thinking about self-testing. Conclusions: These exploratory findings suggest that self-testing independently of formal health care systems may no more negatively impact people than being tested by health care professionals. Participants’ perceptions about self-testing behaviour were consistent with psychological theories. Findings suggest that interventions which increase confidence in using self-tests and that provide reassurance of test accuracy may increase self-test intentions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2016


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