In BC, rates of reportable sexually transmitted infections (STI) continue to rise but uptake of STI and HIV testing is below recommended levels. Barriers to testing include concerns about privacy and disclosing sexual behaviors and discomfort with health care providers. Additionally, the capacity of clinics to meet the demand for testing is increasingly constrained. GetCheckedOnline is the first and only comprehensive online program in Canada that tests for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.
GetCheckedOnline (GetCheckedOnline.com) is an internet-based testing service for STI and HIV at the BC Centre for Disease Control. It offers access to chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C testing without the need to visit a doctor or clinic; clients can retrieve test results online or over the phone. Through the GetCheckedOnline website, clients can create an account, complete a sexual risk assessment and print a laboratory requisition, then give specimens at designated private lab sites
and retrieve their results online (if all results negative) or over the phone (if any result positive). Clients are not required to give their BC Care Card or any identification at the private lab. Testing reminders (by email) and tailored educational messages are also features of the website. All test results and follow-up of positive diagnoses are managed by nurses and physicians at the BC Centre for Disease Control.
GetCheckedOnline is integrated with clinical practice at the BC Centre for Disease Control and is a complement to traditional clinic-based testing. GetCheckedOnline was launched September 2014 in Vancouver after extensive consultation and development involving multiple stakeholders.
GetCheckedOnline offers an alternative testing option to people at higher risk of STI/HIV with multiple barriers to accessing testing, including youth and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. The service promotes client-centered care, provides timely access to care and encourages greater uptake and frequency of testing. The availability of GetCheckedOnline to clients otherwise accessing clinic services may also lead to more focused use of clinician resources and greater capacity for clinics to see drop-in clients.
The information collected through the sexual risk assessment, the tailored educational messages, and the tests that are recommended according to risk are based on provincial best practices for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections testing and were designed (and revised as needed) with the input of provincial medical and nursing leaders for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections testing at BC Centre for Disease Control.
BC Centre for Disease Control is increasingly receiving requests for GetCheckedOnline, both by prospective clients (who have heard of GetCheckedOnline by word-of-mouth) and by health care providers who want to refer their patients to GetCheckedOnline. In particular, clinics and agencies that work with youth and sex trade workers are interested in GetCheckedOnline as an alternate testing option, especially for those patients that have concerns about stigma or confidentiality.
Title: Program Manager, Online Sexual Health Services
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org