Online care for STIs
Chlamydia trachomatis is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI), particularly prevalent in the people under the age of 25. Chlamydia is often asymptomatic and, if left untreated, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, and pain and swelling in the testes in men.
Barriers to seeking treatment may include the stigma attached to STIs, cost, convenience or not being aware that you’re infected.
EHealth is a viable solution to manage, prevent and control STIs, particularly in younger people who typically have a higher technical literacy and often prefer to consume information in the palm of their hand. Researchers investigate the safety and feasibility of an eSexual Health Clinic (eSHC) system for the management, prevention and control of Chlamydia.
The eSHC system is a web portal with different access points for patients, providers and research administrators. Care can be accessed entirely remotely, including a results service, health promotion content and an automated online consultation in the form of a clinical decision-making tool.
If deemed appropriate, a prescription is authorised over email, and patients can collect the treating antibiotics from participating pharmacies. The system is also capable of partner notification – an important component of Chlamydia management.
The results suggest that the eSHC was acceptable, feasible and safe for use in people aged 16 years and over with Chlamydia. Close to ¾ of people chose to access the care online and about 60% managed their care completely online. The preliminary findings suggest similar treatment to those observed in traditional services.
More research is needed, however eHealth solutions for the management and treatment of STIs could be an innovative way to identify STIs early and prevent the spread of disease.
Last Reviewed: 30/12/2019
© Norman Swan Medical Communications.
Estcourt, C et al. (2017). The eSexual Health Clinical system for management, prevention, and control of sexually transmitted infections: exploratory studies in people testing for Chlamydia trachomatis. The Lancet http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(17)30034-8.