Internet-Based Screening for Chlamydia trachomatis to Reach Nonclinic Populations With Mailed Self-Administered Vaginal Swabs

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Background:Testing for Chlamydia trachomatis by nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) using self-collected vaginal swabs (VS) is acceptable and accurate. The objectives were to implement an educational Internet-based program for women to facilitate home screening, to determine whether women would request and use self-collected VS kits, to determine associated risk factors for infection, and to determine satisfaction with the process.Methods:The website,, was designed to encourage women ≥14 years to obtain home-sampling kits. Kits could be obtained in the community, requested by Internet/e-mail, or telephone. Users mailed the self-collected VS to the laboratory. Swabs were tested by 3 NAAT assays. Respondents called for results.Results:Forty-one of 400 (10.3%) women were chlamydia positive; 95.1% were treated. Questionnaires indicated 89.5% preferred self-collection, 93.5% rated collection easy/very easy, and 86.3% would use the Internet program again. Black race and age <25 years were associated independently with being chlamydia positive, while use of birth control and nonconsensual sex were protective. Thirty-six of 41 (87.8%) positive samples were positive by all 3 NAATs, 5/41 (12.2%) were positive by only 2 NAATs, and none were positive by only 1 NAAT. The Internet/e-mail request method was better than the community pick-up approach because 97.2% of kit requests were e-mailed and 87.5% of kits returned for testing were e-mail requested.Conclusions:Women will use the Internet to request and use home-sampling kits for chlamydia. NAAT testing performed well on dry-transported VS. High prevalence was detected and questionnaires indicated high-risk sexual behavior.

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