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      ‘To be on the safe side’: a qualitative study regarding users’ beliefs and experiences of internet-based self-sampling for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae testing

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          Abstract

          Objectives

          In Sweden, an increasing number of tests for sexually transmitted infections are conducted. Self-sampling services are provided free of charge at the national eHealth website. Our aim was to obtain a deeper understanding of users’ beliefs and experiences of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) self-sampling services.

          Methods

          This qualitative study is part of the national project ‘Internet-based chlamydia and gonorrhoea self-sampling test’, conducted in Sweden. Individuals ordering a CT/NG self-sampling test at home from the eHealth website were invited to participate. Of the 114 individuals who agreed, a purposeful sample including 20 women and men aged 18–49 years (mean, 30.8 years) participated in a telephone interview in 2019.

          Results

          The test service for CT/NG was highly appreciated by men and women of different ages. Round-the-clock accessibility, avoiding clinical visits, ease of use, confidentiality and a rapid test result were reasons for this appreciation. Language, uncertainty about the correct sampling procedure, unreliable postal services and concerns about handling of personal data were mentioned as barriers. Reasons for testing were checking after unprotected sex, symptoms, checking a partner’s fidelity or a regular routine—‘to be on the safe side’. Knowledge about the infections and their consequences was limited; some considered them severe, especially if they could threaten fertility, and others were less concerned. Disclosing an infection was described as emotionally stressful. Participants had high self-efficacy in relation to the test and would not hesitate to use the service again, even if it involved a cost.

          Conclusions

          Internet-based CT/NG self-sampling at home was highly appreciated and was used for individual health reasons, but also out of concern for others’ health and for society as a whole. The benefits seem to outweigh the barriers, and the service may therefore continue to be widely offered.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): a 32-item checklist for interviews and focus groups.

           A Tong,  P SAINSBURY,  J. Craig (2007)
          Qualitative research explores complex phenomena encountered by clinicians, health care providers, policy makers and consumers. Although partial checklists are available, no consolidated reporting framework exists for any type of qualitative design. To develop a checklist for explicit and comprehensive reporting of qualitative studies (in depth interviews and focus groups). We performed a comprehensive search in Cochrane and Campbell Protocols, Medline, CINAHL, systematic reviews of qualitative studies, author or reviewer guidelines of major medical journals and reference lists of relevant publications for existing checklists used to assess qualitative studies. Seventy-six items from 22 checklists were compiled into a comprehensive list. All items were grouped into three domains: (i) research team and reflexivity, (ii) study design and (iii) data analysis and reporting. Duplicate items and those that were ambiguous, too broadly defined and impractical to assess were removed. Items most frequently included in the checklists related to sampling method, setting for data collection, method of data collection, respondent validation of findings, method of recording data, description of the derivation of themes and inclusion of supporting quotations. We grouped all items into three domains: (i) research team and reflexivity, (ii) study design and (iii) data analysis and reporting. The criteria included in COREQ, a 32-item checklist, can help researchers to report important aspects of the research team, study methods, context of the study, findings, analysis and interpretations.
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            The qualitative content analysis process.

            This paper is a description of inductive and deductive content analysis. Content analysis is a method that may be used with either qualitative or quantitative data and in an inductive or deductive way. Qualitative content analysis is commonly used in nursing studies but little has been published on the analysis process and many research books generally only provide a short description of this method. When using content analysis, the aim was to build a model to describe the phenomenon in a conceptual form. Both inductive and deductive analysis processes are represented as three main phases: preparation, organizing and reporting. The preparation phase is similar in both approaches. The concepts are derived from the data in inductive content analysis. Deductive content analysis is used when the structure of analysis is operationalized on the basis of previous knowledge. Inductive content analysis is used in cases where there are no previous studies dealing with the phenomenon or when it is fragmented. A deductive approach is useful if the general aim was to test a previous theory in a different situation or to compare categories at different time periods.
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              Standards for reporting qualitative research: a synthesis of recommendations.

              Standards for reporting exist for many types of quantitative research, but currently none exist for the broad spectrum of qualitative research. The purpose of the present study was to formulate and define standards for reporting qualitative research while preserving the requisite flexibility to accommodate various paradigms, approaches, and methods.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                bmjopen
                bmjopen
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2044-6055
                2020
                29 December 2020
                : 10
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]departmentWomen’s and Children’s Health , Uppsala University , Uppsala, Sweden
                [2 ]departmentSection of Clinical Bacteriology, Department of Medical Sciences , Uppsala University , Uppsala, Sweden
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Maria Grandahl; maria.grandahl@ 123456kbh.uu.se
                Article
                bmjopen-2020-041340
                10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041340
                7778762
                33376171
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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