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STI testing, diagnoses and online chlamydia self-sampling among young people during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in England

Sonubi, Tamilore; Sheik-Mohamud, Dahir; Ratna, Natasha; Bell, James; Talebi, Alireza; Mercer, Catherine H; Sinka, Katy; ... Mohammed, Hamish; + view all (2023) STI testing, diagnoses and online chlamydia self-sampling among young people during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in England. International Journal of STD & AIDS 10.1177/09564624231180641. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: COVID-19 control measures reduced face-to-face appointments at sexual health services (SHSs). Remote access to SHSs through online self-sampling was increased. This analysis assesses how these changes affected service use and STI testing among 15-24 year olds ('young people') in England. METHODS: Data on all chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis tests from 2019-2020, among English-resident young people were obtained from national STI surveillance datasets. We calculated proportional differences in tests and diagnoses for each STI, by demographic characteristics, including socioeconomic deprivation, between 2019-2020. Binary logistic regression was used to determine crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) between demographic characteristics and being tested for chlamydia by an online service. RESULTS: Compared to 2019, there were declines in testing (chlamydia-30%; gonorrhoea-26%; syphilis-36%) and diagnoses (chlamydia-31%; gonorrhoea-25%; syphilis-23%) among young people in 2020. Reductions were greater amongst 15-19 year-olds vs. 20-24 year-olds. Amongst people tested for chlamydia, those living in the least deprived areas were more likely to be tested using an online self-sampling kit (males; OR = 1.24 [1.22-1.26], females; OR = 1.28 [1.27-1.30]). CONCLUSION: The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in England saw declines in STI testing and diagnoses in young people and disparities in the use of online chlamydia self-sampling which risk widening existing health inequalities.

Type: Article
Title: STI testing, diagnoses and online chlamydia self-sampling among young people during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in England
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/09564624231180641
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/09564624231180641
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
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 > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174635
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