It’s nobody’s idea of fun to spend the afternoon in a GUM clinic… unless they have some really weird fetish involving swabs, presumably.
So now there’s an app which means you can sort yourself out from the comfort of your own bathroom. People who think they might have a sexually transmitted disease but are too embarrassed or lazy to go to a clinic can order a ‘sex MOT’ from their smartphone.
A mail order home kit containing tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and HIV will soon arrive through the letterbox, and they can then post samples off to a lab.
Results will be delivered via text or email, and if they test positive patients will get a fast-track referral to their local clinic meaning they can jump the queue, or a call from a clinician in the case of HIV.
The not for profit firm behind the scheme said it could slash the costs to the NHS by over half. Each tests costs £65 compared to the current £160 as more than a third of patients visiting clinics don’t have anything wrong with them and are in the clear.
This alone could save the NHS £80m a year – and it’s also quicker than going in person because results are sent back in days rather than the current week or longer.
People were first offered the service in Lambeth and Southwark, two boroughs with the highest infection rates in Britain. But now the scheme SH:24 funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ charity is looking to expand to cover the whole country.
It’s really important to get tested because untreated STIs can cause serious problems.
For example Chlamydia often shows no symptoms, but can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy which can be life threatening for women, and Syphilis can result in serious effects on the bones, heart and central nervous system.
Gillian Holdsworth, from SH:24, said: ‘We know many people who want or need a test don’t get tested for a number of reasons – inconvenience, embarrassment about going to a clinic, or not realising they’re at risk.
‘The key patient benefits of SH:24 are improved access, no waiting time, confidentiality and faster results, whilst the benefits to local authorities are reduced costs and improved health of the population.’
To order a test click here.