Use of a comprehensive Internet-based STI/HIV testing service in Vancouver, British Columbia and uptake by promotion strategy

Mark Gilbert, Travis Salway Hottes, Devon Haag, Mark Bondyra, Kim Thomson, Natalie Holgerson, Troy Grennan, Shannon Kopp, Kit Farley, Mel Krajden, Mark Tyndall, Jean Shoveller, Gina Ogilvie

2016 National STD Prevention Conference, Atlanta, Georgia; Sept 20-23, 2016

Background: GetCheckedOnline (GCO) is a comprehensive internet‐based STI/HIV testing service that launched in fall 2014 in Vancouver, Canada. During the pilot phase (2014‐15), clients accessed GCO through three methods: invitation to participate as clients of a major urban STI clinic (“clinic invitees”); access code provided when turned away from the clinic when at capacity (“turn‐aways”); access code promoted through a campaign to gay and bisexual men (“GBM campaign”). We compared uptake of GCO through the various steps in the testing process across these three promotional strategies.

Methods: We calculated the number and proportion of unique clients for each of the following steps: account created; lab form created; specimens submitted; positive result; repeat testing. Proportions were compared across promotional streams and by sociodemographic characteristics using Chi‐square tests to identify significant differences.

Results: 868 clients created GCO accounts between September 2014 and December 2015; 56% created a lab form and 61% of those clients submitted specimens. Of clients submitting specimens, 3% had a positive result (4 chlamydia, 2 gonorrhea, 2 syphilis) and 22% tested more than one time. Turn‐away clients were more likely to create lab forms (81%, p<0.05) and submit specimens (72%, p<0.05). 71% of clients were male, 74% were white, and 30% were from suburban regions; characteristics did not differ between clients who created accounts and those who submitted specimens.

Conclusions: Attrition through the steps of this online testing service was lower among turn‐away clients, suggesting this group is particularly motivated to use an online STI/HIV testing service. The absence of differences in uptake by sociodemographic characteristics underscores the service’s broad appeal.