The impact of BC’s internet-based testing program for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections

Devon Haag, Kimberly Thomson, Mark Gilbert

Clinical Prevention Services, BC Centre for Disease Control, 2018

This report describes the rationale, objectives, planning and development of GetCheckedOnline, as well as summarizes what we know in early 2018 about the program’s impacts to date on improving access to STBBI testing in BC.

Key messages:

  1. Implementing a complicated digital health program like GetCheckedOnline within the health care system is not easy – to make it a success requires time, commitment, input from experts and potential users, strong support from leaders, and collaboration with many different stakeholders.
  2. Internet-based testing is an acceptable and feasible way to improving access to testing and diagnosis of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections. One in 20 people using GetCheckedOnline test positive for an infection.
  3. People who use GetCheckedOnline are highly satisfied with the service, have a higher chance of infection, and face barriers to accessing face-to-face testing services. Many have never previously tested.
  4. GetCheckedOnline is an effective and scalable sexual health intervention, with different impacts in major and smaller urban and suburban communities. Users outside of Vancouver are different in terms of their demographics and behaviours, including a greater proportion of males and youth testing for HIV for the first time.
  5. Integrating research and evaluation at all stages of development, implementation and expansion has been key to the success of the GetCheckedOnline program.