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Young people’s perceptions of accessing a community pharmacy for a chlamydia testing kit: a qualitative study based in North East England

Lookup NU author(s): Lara Ahmaro, Dr Laura LindseyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Objectives Chlamydia testing among young people in community pharmacies in North East England has been low compared with other remote settings offering testing for the past few years. To understand why this may be, to maximise service provision, the perceptions of young men and women about pharmacy testing and possible chlamydia treatment were gathered and interpreted.Design Indepth, semistructured interviews.Setting Four youth centres in North East England.Participants The study included 26 young people aged 16–23. The sample of participants comprised those with a history of chlamydia testing as well as those never tested.Interviews Face-to-face interviews were conducted between October 2018 and May 2019. The interview schedule covered young people’s perceptions of sexually transmitted infections, provision of pharmacy sexual and reproductive health and chlamydia testing, and potential chlamydia treatment. Data from the interviews were subjected to thematic analysis.Results The geographical accessibility and long opening times of community pharmacies in North East England were perceived benefits of the service. However, young people had concerns about being judged by pharmacy staff or overheard by customers when requesting the test. Men did not want to be seen by their peers accessing the pharmacy. These barriers were associated with a perceived stigma of chlamydia. Despite this, young people thought that pharmacist advice on the test kit would be important to ensure they complete it correctly. Those never tested favoured how the kit could be taken home to complete the urine sample. The option of including chlamydia treatment was reported to be convenient and comforting.Conclusion Supporting pharmacies in North East England to offer a confidential chlamydia testing service is necessary to overcome young people’s perceived barriers to testing. Delivering testing as an integrated sexual health package with other pharmacy services, together with treatment where suitable, will increase acceptance for testing and timely access to treatment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ahmaro L, Lindsey L, Forrest S, Whittlesea C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMJ Open

Year: 2021

Volume: 11

Print publication date: 06/09/2021

Online publication date: 06/09/2021

Acceptance date: 26/08/2021

Date deposited: 08/09/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2044-6055

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-052228


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