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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Do callers to the NSW Sexual Health Infoline attend the services they are referred to?

Margy Ewing A D , Phillip Read A B , Vickie Knight A , Samantha Morgan A , Mark Hanlon A , Angela McDonald A , Ruthy McIver A , Simon Wright A and Anna McNulty A C

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

B The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.

C School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: margy.ewing@sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Sexual Health 10(6) 530-532 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH13106
Submitted: 15 July 2013  Accepted: 18 August 2013   Published: 11 October 2013

Abstract

Background: The NSW Sexual Health Infoline (SHIL) is a free and confidential sexual health information and referral line. The ability of Australian sexual health helplines to facilitate successful referrals has not been studied. In the present study, we sought to determine whether callers were successful in accessing the publicly funded sexual health services (PFSHS) or general practitioners (GP) they were referred to. Methods: Callers to SHIL who were directly referred to a PFSHS or GP for HIV and/or sexually transmissible infection testing from 3 January to 31 March 2012 were offered a follow-up phone call 1 week later. Results: Of 474 eligible callers, 190 (40%) agreed to disclose a first name and contact details and to be contacted by a study nurse on an agreed-upon date. One hundred and twenty (63%) callers were successfully contacted 1 week later; of these, 85% had attended or had a future appointment booked for testing. Conclusions: We conclude that among the study sample that was successfully followed up, most callers to the SHIL had attended or booked appointments to the services they were referred to.

Additional keywords: Anonymous, follow up, helpline, HIV, phone, referral, sexually transmissible infection, testing.


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