Residents in Hillingdon can now access free and confidential testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from home.
In April London North West Healthcare NHS Trust was chosen as the lead provider for a new five-year contract to deliver sexual health services across the borough of Hillingdon.
As part of the new service, the Trust is working in partnership with SH:24, an online provider of free and confidential STI testing that can be accessed 24 hours a day.
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV can all be tested for using a free test kit, which is sent directly to a person’s home. The kit contains everything needed to provide samples that will be tested in SH:24’s lab.
Results are sent back via text within three days of the test being received by the lab and if an infection is identified, SH:24 will advise on how to get treatment and further support.
The service can also send chlamydia treatment to people who test positive. SH:24 is registered with the CQC to deliver chlamydia treatment in this way and is the first service to provide this for free in the UK.
SH:24’s new service, which started on 1 July, has had 367 orders to date. Of the 13 people who were eligible to have chlamydia treatment posted to their home, 11 have taken up this offer.
Dr Gary Brook, Clinical Lead for Sexual Health Services at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This is an innovative and effective way of increasing access to STI testing and treatment for the residents of Hillingdon, and we are already seeing an impact in uptake of this service. We are happy that it will expand the options open to people to achieve better sexual health care.”
Dr Gillian Holdsworth, Managing Director at SH:24, said: “We are delighted to be working with London North West Healthcare NHS Trust to improve access to sexual health services for people in Hillingdon.
“The Trust has been particularly forward thinking in its approach to chlamydia treatment and are confident it can improve the sexual health of the local population by reducing the number of days the infection is in the community through speed of diagnosis and treatment.”
The new sexual health services contract will also see the Trust work with voluntary sector organisations, such as Brook, the Terrence Higgins Trust, Spectra and Naz to provide improved prevention in the community for groups with higher sexual health needs, including young people, gay and bisexual men and minority ethnic groups.
London North West Healthcare was also awarded a five year contract earlier this year to deliver integrated sexual and reproductive health services across Harrow, Brent and Ealing.