Annual chlamydia testing is recommended for all sexually active Australians aged 15-29 years; however, the testing rate is below recommended levels. Three surveys at a Melbourne music festival were conducted over 2012-14 to identify correlates of sexually transmissible infection (STI) testing among young people at risk of STIs. In total, 3588 participants were recruited; 72% reported having sex in the past year. Based on sexual behaviours, 38% of sexually active participants were classified as at risk of contracting STIs. In the past year, at-risk participants had significantly higher odds of reporting a STI test (37%) than participants classified as not at risk (24%) (OR=1.9; CI=1.6-2.3). Among at-risk participants, correlates of STI testing in the past year included being aged 20-24 years, visiting a GP, higher knowledge levels, earlier sexual debut and reporting more than five lifetime partners. Testing rates in our sample did not meet levels required to reduce chlamydia prevalence. However, the testing rate was higher in at-risk participants than participants who were not at risk. Future programs aiming to increase chlamydia testing should improve knowledge and promote the importance of testing after risk exposure, particularly among 16- to 19-year-olds.
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Anna Bowring, Timothy Yeung, Elise Carrotte and Chloe Robson contributed
to project implementation and data collection. The authors acknowledge
and thank the research team, recruiters and participants involved and the
assistance from Big Day Out and Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS
staff. The project was funded by the Burnet Institute. Megan Lim was
supported by a NHMRC Early Career Fellowship and an Australian
Government Department of Health Preventive Research Fellowship.
Margaret Hellard is supported by a NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Victorian Operational
Infrastructure Support Program received by the Burnet Institute.