HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is urging people in Wakefield and District to stem recent increases in HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by using condoms and attending one of THT’s new walk-in ‘Fastest’ clinics if they have put themselves at risk. We know from calls to our helpline THT Direct that more people put their sexual health at risk around Christmas and New Year than at any other time, so January is a good time to take a test for peace of mind.
THT recently launched two walk-in ‘Fastest’ clinics in Wakefield, with anyone over-16 eligible to come forward for testing. Funded by NHS Wakefield District, the service is free, and offers tests for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and STIs including chlamydia and gonorrhea. The clinics also offer women the contraceptive Pill, contraceptive depot injections, emergency contraception and free pregnancy testing on request.
At ‘Fastest’, HIV tests are taken using a finger-prick blood test, and the results provided within twenty minutes. Tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea involve taking a urine sample (for men) or self-administered swab (for women), which is then posted off to the lab; results are available within a week. For those who test positive, THT will provide antibiotics to treat the infection. Syphilis and hepatitis tests require a full blood sample. THT clinics and workers also offer information and advice on STIs and safer sex, as well as giving out free condoms.
THT’s ‘Fastest’ services in Wakefield and District both take place on Saturdays: the first from 11.00am to 1.00pm at Kinsley & Fitzwilliam Community Resource Centre (Wakefield Road, Pontefract, WF9 5BP); the second from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at Youthtopia (1 Gillygate, Pontefract, WF8 1PH).
Melissa Briscoe, Regional Manager for THT in the North, said: “It’s not just the under-25s who need to beware of STIs; we’ve recently seen a significant rise among the over-40s of infections like chlamydia, which often has no symptoms and can cause serious damage. Where good sexual health is concerned, going for regular check-ups is just as important as using condoms. Our ‘Fastest’ clinics really are a one-stop shop for sexual health, and I hope this will encourage many more people to come forward for testing.”
For further information on THT’s ‘Fastest’ clinic in Wakefield and District, please contact Lisa White on 01977 614120, or visit www.tht.org.uk.