As diagnoses of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) remain high across England (420,000 cases in 2016), particularly among young people, Solent NHS Trust Sexual Health Services backs Public Health England’s campaign launched today, Friday15 December.
The Trust, which offers sexual health services in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton, recognises the need to raise awareness of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and condom use, and has over the last year developed its online services to make testing and prevention much easier.
The online service offers a free self-sampling STI test kit, which includes testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and HIV, as well as its free condoms by post service, which can be requested through the service website www.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk.
The service also offers a free, confidential web chat service for people living with or affected by HIV, which is believed to be the first of its kind in England. “If anyone has any concerns or wants to talk to someone about their risk of HIV or other STIs they can chat to us online from the comfort and security of their own home using a mobile or computer,” said Debbie Zimmerman, Head of Solent NHS Trust’s Sexual Health Services.
In 2016, the majority (51%) of new STI diagnosis were in young adults aged 15-24. As many cases of STIs have no symptoms, including seven in 10 cases of chlamydia, they should be taken seriously. Due to the symptomless nature of the infections, and the potential risk of these going undiagnosed, there is a real need for young people to practice safe sex and reduce the spread of STIs.
“Chlamydia testing for under 25 year olds is still very much on our radar, and we also offer an online test kit for Chlamydia 16 to 24 year olds,” adds Debbie.
“They simply go to our website, order the kit, which is posted out in a plain unmarked small parcel, return their urine or swab sample to us in the freepost envelop and we will text them with their result. It’s all very easy to do and importantly it’s very confidential which means we won’t be telling their GP or parents, which we know for some young people is a worry.”
To find out more about STIs and condom use, visit the Public Health England campaign page www.nhs.uk/protect-against-stis-use-a-condom.
For more information please contact the Solent NHS Trust Communications Team on 0300 123 4156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Editors:
Solent NHS Trust was created on 1 April 2011 and specializes in providing high quality community and mental health services. We currently operate out of more than 120 sites across Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire.