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

Published: August 13, 2012


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.

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