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Acceptability of remote prescribing and postal delivery services for contraceptive pills and treatment of uncomplicated Chlamydia trachomatis

Abstract

Objectives The digitalisation of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services offers valuable opportunities to deliver contraceptive pills and chlamydia treatment by post. We aimed to examine the acceptability of remote prescribing and ‘medication-by-post’ in SRH.

Study design An online survey assessing attitudes towards remote management was distributed in three UK SRH clinics and via an integrated sexually transmitted infection (STI) postal self-sampling service. Logistic regressions were performed to identify potential correlates.

Results There were 1281 participants (74% female and 49% <25 years old). Some 8% of participants reported having received medication via post and 83% were willing to receive chlamydia treatment and contraceptive pills by post. Lower acceptability was observed among participants who were: >45 years old (OR 0.43 (95% CI 0.23–0.81)), screened for STIs less than once annually (OR 0.63 (0.42–0.93)), concerned about confidentiality (OR 0.21 (0.90–0.50)), concerned about absence during delivery (OR 0.09 (0.02–0.32)) or unwilling to provide blood pressure readings (OR 0.22 (0.04–0.97)). Higher acceptability was observed among participants who reported: previously receiving medication by post (OR 4.63 (1.44–14.8)), preference for home delivery over clinic collection (OR 24.1 (11.1–51.9)), preference for home STI testing (OR 10.3 (6.16–17.4)), ability to communicate with health advisors (OR 4.01 (1.03–15.6)) and willingness to: register their real name (OR 3.09 (1.43–10.6)), complete online health questionnaires (OR 3.09 (1.43–10.6)) and use generic contraceptive pills (OR 2.88 (1.21–6.83)).

Conclusions Postal treatment and entering information online to allow remote prescribing were acceptable methods for SRH services and should be considered alongside medication collection in pharmacies. These methods could be particularly useful for patients facing barriers in accessing SRH. The cost-effectiveness and implementation of these novel methods of service delivery should be further investigated.

  • contraception behavior
  • chlamydia
  • health services research
  • sexually transmitted diseases

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