A review of papers and studies has recently been conducted by Dr Monica Desai, HIV & STI Department, Public Health England, to explore the potential benefits of active recall programs to increase rates of HIV and STI testing. This means proactively contacting patients to advise them to come back for regular STI testing. The potential benefits of any increase would of course mean more testing, and a corresponding increase in the early detection of these damaging infections. Early detection increases the likelihood that any infection will be detected prior to its doing any significant damage to the individual and will also help to protect others from becoming infected.
The review that was undertaken revealed, perhaps unsurprisingly, that active recall programs lead to higher re-attendance rates than simply waiting for patients to decide on their own to retest.
Interestingly, it was also found that if you coupled an active recall program with home sample collection, re-testing rates rose yet further.
Significant further research is called for but the logic and benefits of an active recall program seem unassailable. There are issues around whether patients would wish to be contacted and what that communication should say, but subject to patient agreement and consent, an active recall program would have direct benefits in catching infections earlier and reducing rates of infection amongst partners.
At this time Better2Know does not offer an active recall system, but if you would like us to contact you on a regular basis, please contact us and our patient services team will be happy to help you.