A Qualitative Exploration of the Acceptability and Preferences for Home-based Self-Collect Kits for Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Globally, one million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired daily, of which youth account for the highest rates. Similarly, in the United States of America (USA) youth (13 – 24 years) account for 50% of all new STIs. Lower rates of STI testing significantly fuel the STI rates among youth. Only 12% of sexually active youth have ever tested for STIs. Currently, STI testing occurs mostly due to clinician recommendation following assessment of sexual health and sexual risk behaviors. However, this strategy of testing has been ineffective in comprehensively reaching vulnerable youth due to barriers like low knowledge, cost of clinician visit, access, and fear of judgment and discrimination. Innovative strategies to promote STI testing are urgently needed among youth. To address this gap, the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the preferences, feasibility, and acceptability of a home-based STI testing self-collect kit. Methods. Data was collected using a demographic and sexual history questionnaire, STI knowledge questionnaire, and individual audio-recorded interviews using a semi-structured interview guide from 30 youth aged 18 to 24 in Central Pennsylvania, USA. The semi-structured interview guide contained questions on the feasibility and acceptability of using home-based STI testing self-collect kits, and the preferences for access, packaging, and instructions, cost of self-collect kits, sending self-collect kits and receiving test results. Descriptive data were analyzed using the SPSS statistical software, and qualitative data (audio-recorded interviews) were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results. The findings from this study revealed that the availability of home-based self-collect kits could reduce experienced youth barriers related to STI testing. Youth expressed willingness to use home-based self-collect kits. Some described preferences include access to pick-up kits without a prior clinician visit, clear instructions on using kits using packaging instructions or video explanations, discrete packaging, self-collecting testing specimen (i.e., urine, rectal swabs, vaginal swabs) at convenient locations, and dropping off kits at accessible locations. Conclusion. With low rates of STI testing as one of the significant prevention challenges, findings from this study provide insights to structuring alternative ways to offer STI testing services for youth. Recommendations from this study include locations where home-based self-collect kits could be accessed by youth, cost considerations and methods of designing user instructions. Suggestions for future research include the examination of facilitators, barriers, and predictors of the use of home-based self-collect kits and evaluating the accuracy of self-collected test specimens outside clinical settings. Furthermore, findings from this study provide guidelines for policy creations that will enhance the uptake of STI testing.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - May 2019
EventServing the Underserved: An Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Research Conference -
Duration: May 10 2019 → …


ConferenceServing the Underserved: An Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Research Conference
Period5/10/19 → …

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