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Sex Health. 2010 Mar;7(1):60-5. doi: 10.1071/SH08091.

'Show me the money': financial incentives increase chlamydia screening rates among tertiary students: a pilot study.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Internal Medicine, Australian National University Medical School, Canberra Clinical School, Canberra Hospital, Woden, ACT, Australia.



We hypothesise that text-messaging and financial incentives would increase tertiary student participation in chlamydia screening.


A cross-sectional study was conducted over two phases on eight tertiary campuses during 2007. During Phase 1 (6 months) study activities were advertised through student organisations and media. Education and screening were offered during a range of student activities. During Phase 2 (4 days) education and screening were offered via text messages. Non-financial incentives were offered during Phase 1 and a $10 cash incentive was offered during Phase 2. Rates of specimens provided by students and the direct costs incurred during each phase were compared.


2786 students attended the 31 activities conducted in Phase 1. Of these, 627 students (22.5%) provided urine specimens for chlamydia testing. During Phase 2, the dissemination of 866 text messages resulted in urine specimens from 392 students (45.3%). Costs per test were AUD $175.11 in Phase 1 and AUD $27.13 in Phase 2.


Compared with more labour intensive (and therefore more expensive) screening activities conducted over a 6-month period, offering a small financial incentive to tertiary students through text messaging over a 4-day period significantly increased participation in on-campus chlamydia screening. This model could readily be applied to other populations to increase participation in chlamydia screening.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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