Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Correlates of sexually transmissible infection testing among a sample of at-risk young Australians

Caitlin H. Douglass A B D , Alyce M. Vella A , Margaret E. Hellard A B and Megan S. C. Lim A B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Population Health, Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.

B School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.

C Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: caitlin.douglass@burnet.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(3) 272-277 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16115
Submitted: 19 September 2016  Accepted: 3 February 2017   Published: 20 April 2017

Abstract

Annual chlamydia testing is recommended for all sexually active Australians aged 15–29 years; however, the testing rate is below recommended levels. Three surveys at a Melbourne music festival were conducted over 2012–14 to identify correlates of sexually transmissible infection (STI) testing among young people at risk of STIs. In total, 3588 participants were recruited; 72% reported having sex in the past year. Based on sexual behaviours, 38% of sexually active participants were classified as at risk of contracting STIs. In the past year, at-risk participants had significantly higher odds of reporting a STI test (37%) than participants classified as not at risk (24%) (OR = 1.9; CI = 1.6–2.3). Among at-risk participants, correlates of STI testing in the past year included being aged 20–24 years, visiting a GP, higher knowledge levels, earlier sexual debut and reporting more than five lifetime partners. Testing rates in our sample did not meet levels required to reduce chlamydia prevalence. However, the testing rate was higher in at-risk participants than participants who were not at risk. Future programs aiming to increase chlamydia testing should improve knowledge and promote the importance of testing after risk exposure, particularly among 16- to 19-year-olds.

Additional keywords: chlamydia, secondary prevention.


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