Community event-based outreach screening for syphilis and other sexually transmissible infections among gay men in Sydney, Australia

Phillip J. Read*, Vickie Knight, Christopher Bourne, Rebecca Guy, Basil Donovan, Warwick Allan, Anna M. Mcnulty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Increased testing frequency is a key strategy in syphilis control, but achieving regular testing is difficult. The objective of this study is to describe a sexually transmissible infection (STI) testing outreach program (the Testing Tent) at a gay community event. Methods: Gay men attending the testing tent in 2010-11 completed a computer-assisted self-interview and were screened for STIs. Clinical, demographic, behavioural and diagnostic data were compared with gay men attending a clinic-based service during 2009. The Testing Tent was marketed on social media sites and data were extracted on the number of times the advertisements were viewed. Staffing, laboratory, marketing and venue hire expenses were calculated to estimate the cost of delivering the service. Results: Ninety-eight men attended the Testing Tent. They were older (median age: 42 years v. 30 years; P<0.001), had more sex partners (median: five in 3 months v. two; P<0.001) and more likely to inject drugs (9% v. 4%; P≤0.034) than the 1006 clinic attendees, but were more likely to have previously tested for STIs (81% v. 69%; P≤0.028) and to always use condoms for anal sex (59% v. 43%; P≤0.005). Five cases of STIs were detected; the diagnostic yield was not significantly different from that of the clinic. The cost of the Testing Tent was A$28?440. Conclusion: Nonclinical testing facilities are an acceptable option and are accessed by gay men requiring regular testing, and may be an important addition to traditional testing environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalSexual Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Mardi Gras
  • men who have sex with men
  • point of care
  • sexually transmissible infections.
  • testing tent


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