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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Promotion and uptake of a new online partner notification and retesting reminder service for gay men

Chris Bourne A D , Iryna Zablotska B , Anthony Williamson A , Yves Calmette C and Rebecca Guy B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney 2001, NSW, Australia.

B The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2031, NSW, Australia.

C AIDS Council of New South Wales, Surry Hills 2010, NSW, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: christopher.bourne@sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Sexual Health 9(4) 360-367 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH11132
Submitted: 17 September 2011  Accepted: 30 January 2012   Published: 25 May 2012

Abstract

Background: In 2006, two new innovative features were added to a website called WhyTest which provided HIV/sexually transmissable infection (STI) information for gay men. The features were the ‘Tell them’ service allowing visitors to forward anonymous e-postcard or short message services (SMS) to sexual partners who may have been exposed to an STI, and the ‘Remind me’ service allowing visitors to register for a 3-, 6- or 12-monthly SMS reminder for a sexual health check. We describe the uptake of the new website functionality, and recognition of a health promotion campaign conducted in January–June 2007 to promote these new features. Methods: We used Poisson regression to assess trends in monthly partner notification messages and STI testing reminders sent in August 2007–June 2010. We also analysed 2007 Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey data to measure recall of the campaign. Results: A total of 7923 partner notification messages were sent in the period August 2007–June 2010, with a significant increasing trend in monthly messages sent (P < 0001). Of the total messages sent, 7581 (96%) were by SMS and 342 (4%) by e-postcards. A total of 1023 STI testing reminders were sent in the same period, with a significant increasing trend in monthly reminders sent (P < 0.001); 516 reminders were by SMS (50.4%) and 507 by email (49.6%). The 2007 Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey showed that 55% of the 2342 participants recognised the WhyTest image in the campaign. Conclusion: There was high awareness of WhyTest campaign images and the SMS partner notification service was more popular than the e-postcard feature.

Additional keywords: Australia, campaign recall, SMS, WhyTest.


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