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Understanding the barriers and facilitators to using self-sampling packs for sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses: Thematic analyses for intervention optimization

Flowers, Paul; Vojt, Gabriele; Pothoulaki, Maria; Mapp, Fiona; Woode Owusu, Melvina; Estcourt, Claudia; Cassell, Jackie A; (2022) Understanding the barriers and facilitators to using self-sampling packs for sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses: Thematic analyses for intervention optimization. British Journal of Health Psychology 10.1111/bjhp.12617. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Self-sampling packs for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs) are widely offered. There are ongoing problems with reach and sample return rates. The packs have arisen without formal intervention development. This paper illustrates initial steps of an intervention optimization process to improve the packs. METHODS: Eleven focus groups and seven interviews were conducted with convenience samples of patients recruited from sexual health clinics and members of the public (n = 56). To enable intervention optimization, firstly, we conducted an inductive appraisal of the behavioural system of using the pack to understand meaningful constituent behavioural domains. Subsequently, we conducted a thematic analysis of barriers and facilitators to enacting each sequential behavioural domain in preparation for future behaviour change wheel analysis. RESULTS: Overall, we found that self-sampling packs were acceptable. Participants understood their overall logic and value as a pragmatic intervention that simultaneously facilitated and reduced barriers to individuals being tested for STIs and BBVs. However, at the level of each behavioural domain (e.g., reading leaflets, returning samples) problems with the pack were identified, as well as a series of potential optimizations, which might widen the reach of self-sampling and increase the return of viable samples. CONCLUSIONS: This paper provides an example of a pragmatic approach to optimizing an intervention already widely offered globally. The paper demonstrates the added value health psychological approaches offer; conceptualizing interventions in behavioural terms, pinpointing granular behavioural problems amenable for systematic further improvement.

Type: Article
Title: Understanding the barriers and facilitators to using self-sampling packs for sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses: Thematic analyses for intervention optimization
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12617
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12617
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Health Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: barriers, blood-borne viruses, facilitators, intervention optimization, qualitative, self-sampling, sexual health, sexually transmitted infections
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10153484
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