Internet-based screening for Chlamydia trachomatis to reach nonclinic populations with mailed self-administered vaginal swabs

Charlotte A. Gaydos, Karen Dwyer, Mathilda Barnes, Patricia A. Rizzo-Price, Billie Jo Wood, Toni Flemming, M. Terry Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-457
Number of pages7
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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