HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust has teamed up with online medical service DrThom (www.drthom.com) to launch a home sampling kit for chlamydia. The kit means people who are unable or reluctant to attend a sexual health clinic can be screened for chlamydia by taking a urine sample at home and posting it to a lab for testing. Unlike other home sampling services, this service also includes treatment for those who test positive.
Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK today and diagnoses have trebled since 1996. However, due to the lack of symptoms, many people remain undiagnosed. Long waiting times and restricted opening hours at some GUM clinics mean many people have previously been put off going for a test. The aim of this service is to make it easier for people to get tested and treated.
Paul Ward, Deputy Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust said “Some people find going to a sexual health clinic inconvenient or embarrassing so we wanted to make it easier for those people to test. This kit is easy and quick to use. We hope that by offering the choice of a kit you can use at home, we’ll be able to bring down the number of people with undiagnosed chlamydia.”
The kit can be used by men and women. It may be particularly useful for people living in rural areas who find it hard to access sexual health clinics. Test results are uploaded to a private, password protected web page, often within two days of the sample arriving at the lab. Those who receive a positive result will be sent antibiotic treatment through the post and can receive medical aftercare from DrThom. Anyone who wants to speak to someone about their diagnosis can call THT Direct (0845 1221200) for information or support.
If the test result is positive Dr Thom offers a partner notification service, where someone testing positive can ask DrThom to anonymously contact their previous sexual partners by SMS to suggest they have a test themselves.
The sampling kits will cost £25 and treatment is free to those testing positive. Kits can be ordered online from www.tht.org.uk/chlamydiatesting