Safetxt: a safer sex intervention delivered by mobile phone messaging on sexually transmitted infections (STI) among young people in the UK - protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Caroline Free, Ona L McCarthy, Melissa J Palmer, Rosemary Knight, Phil Edwards, Rebecca French, Paula Baraitser, Ford Colin Ian Hickson, Kaye Wellings, Ian Roberts, Julia V Bailey, Graham Hart, Susan Michie, Tim Clayton, George B Ploubidis, James R Carpenter, Katy M E Turner, Karen Devries, Kimberley Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Young people aged 16 to 24 have the highest prevalence of genital chlamydia and gonorrhoea compared with other age groups and re-infection rates following treatment are high. Long-term adverse health effects include subfertility and ectopic pregnancy, particularly among those with repeated infections. We developed the safetxt intervention delivered by text message to reduce sexually transmitted infection (STI) by increasing partner notification, condom use and (STI) testing among young people in the UK.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A single-blind randomised trial to reliably establish the effect of the safetxt intervention on chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection at 1 year. We will recruit 6250 people aged 16 to 24 years who have recently been diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhoea or non-specific urethritis from health services in the UK. Participants will be allocated to receive the safetxt intervention (text messages designed to promote safer sexual health behaviours) or to receive the control text messages (monthly messages asking participants about changes in contact details) by an automated remote online randomisation system. The primary outcome will be the cumulative incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection at 1 year assessed by nucleic acid amplification tests. Secondary outcomes include partner notification, correct treatment of infection, condom use and STI testing prior to sex with new partners.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval was obtained from NHS Health Research Authority - London - Riverside Research Ethics Committee (REC reference: 15/LO/1665) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. We will submit the results of the trial for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number: ISRCTN64390461. Registered on 17th March 2016. WHO trial registration data set available at: http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/Trial2.aspx?TrialID=ISRCTN64390461.

TRIAL PROTOCOL VERSION: 12, 19th July 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e031635
JournalBMJ Open
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2020

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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

Cite this

Free, C., McCarthy, O. L., Palmer, M. J., Knight, R., Edwards, P., French, R., Baraitser, P., Hickson, F. C. I., Wellings, K., Roberts, I., Bailey, J. V., Hart, G., Michie, S., Clayton, T., Ploubidis, G. B., Carpenter, J. R., Turner, K. M. E., Devries, K., & Potter, K. (2020). Safetxt: a safer sex intervention delivered by mobile phone messaging on sexually transmitted infections (STI) among young people in the UK - protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 10(3), e031635. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031635