A Web-Based Respondent Driven Sampling Pilot Targeting Young People at Risk for Chlamydia Trachomatis in Social and Sexual Networks with Testing: A Use Evaluation

K. Theunissen*, C. Hoebe, G. Kok, R. Crutzen, C. Kara-Zaïtri, N. de Vries, J. van Bergen, R. Hamilton, M. van der Sande, N. Dukers-Muijrers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: With the aim of targeting high-risk hidden heterosexual young people for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) testing, an innovative web-based screening strategy using Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) and home-based CT testing, was developed, piloted and evaluated. Methods: Two STI clinic nurses encouraged 37 CT positive heterosexual young people (aged 16-25 years), called index clients, to recruit peers from their social and sexual networks using the web-based screening strategy. Eligible peers (young, living in the study area) could request a home-based CT test and recruit other peers. Results: Twelve (40%) index clients recruited 35 peers. Two of these peers recruited other peers (n = 7). In total, 35 recruited peers were eligible for participation; ten of them (29%) requested a test and eight tested. Seven tested for the first time and one (13%) was positive. Most peers were female friends (80%). Nurses were positive about using the strategy. Conclusions: The screening strategy is feasible for targeting the hidden social network. However, uptake among men and recruitment of sex-partners is low and RDS stopped early. Future studies are needed to explore the sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and impact of strategies that target people at risk who are not effectively reached by regular health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9889-9906
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • web-based respondent driven sampling
  • peer-referral
  • social networks
  • sexual networks
  • partner notification
  • home-based test kits
  • STI

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