Researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have evidence that more than one-third of young women are willing and able to use a free, easily available home test kit to privately and accurately learn if they are infected with Chlamydia trachomatis, the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in this group.
Among the women, mostly under age 25, who used the kit -- developed by Hopkins -- 87 percent did so by ordering it on the Internet. The kit, which costs about $10 to manufacture, was provided free for study participants.
"Our results confirm that home test kits ordered via the Internet provided young women with a safe and effective means for protecting their sexual reproductive health," says study lead investigator and infectious disease specialist Charlotte Gaydos, M.S., Dr.P.H., associate professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "The Internet is how the current generation does business -- from researching homework to shopping for clothes. Not surprisingly, they prefer using the Internet to also help take care of their health."
The Hopkins findings, to be presented at the 105th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology on June 8, are believed to be the first to show that online access to self-sampling test kits for Chlamydia is an effective way to address the spread, detection and treatment of the disease. This age group also has the highest risk of contracting an STD and has historically been the least likely group to undergo regular testing.
Results of a new survey by the same investigators, also to be presented at the ASM meeting, warn that reinfection rates for Chlamydia were alarmingly high among middle- and high-school students in Baltimore, Md.