As a key component of emerging internet-based sexual health services, online sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV testing have shown promising results as a means of expanding the scope of traditional testing. However, the experiences of youth in relation to online STI/HIV testing represent an underexplored area. In particular, the capacity of online STI/HIV testing to both complement in-person services and reach underserved populations remains poorly defined. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is currently developing an online STI/HIV testing service, GetCheckedOnline (GCO) that will be piloted in Metro Vancouver. This 2-year study utilizes both qualitative (indepth interviews) and quantitative (online web survey) methods to explore factors affecting both the implementation and possible province-wide scale-up of GCO in BC.
Through interviews with youth who have either used GCO or are prospective clients of GCO, this study investigates the ways in which GCO may complement existing STI/HIV testing services in BC. Further, through an online survey that will be distributed to GCO clients after using the online testing system for the first time, and again three months post-use, the capacity of GCO to affect short term changes in self-reported STI/HIV knowledge, attitudes, and behavior will be assessed. This study will 1) develop detailed descriptions of factors affecting both the implementation and scale-up of GCO, and 2) describe the potential complementarity of GCO to in-clinic testing services for youth in BC.