THT to offer monthly STI testing at Brighton gay bar

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Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK; an estimated 1 in 14 people aged between 16-24 have undiagnosed chlamydia. For most people chlamydia has no symptoms and, left untreated, it can lead to serious long term health problems, including infertility. With high levels of undiagnosed STIs locally, THT is teaming up with the sexual health nurses from Sussex Community NHS Trust to encourage more young people to test.

The service is free, simple and confidential – men will be asked to give a urine sample and women either a urine sample or self-administered swab. Samples will be sent off to the lab, with the results available in one week and sent via text message. THT staff will provide information and advice about sexual health, including where people can go if they have put themselves at risk. THT staff and volunteers will also hand out free condoms and other goodies.

Ross Boseley, Head of Health Promotion at THT Brighton said: “Despite better awareness about STIs, some young people are still reluctant to be tested, or worried about what the test involves. They needn’t be. Modern tests are quick and simple. We’re very grateful to Charles Street Bar for giving us this opportunity. We hope that by spreading the message of how easy it is to test for STIs, young LGBT people in Brighton will be better equipped to maintain good sexual health.”

Laura Hutchinson, Chlamydia Screening Programme Lead at Sussex Community NHS Trust, said: “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with THT to help young people under the age of 25 access sexual health services within the City. Togther, we aim to normalise the screening process for young people and have a presence in more social settings to ensure that all young people have equal access to sexual health information and services. This new way of working gives young people the opportunity to ask questions and get sexual health information from experienced professionals that they may otherwise not have accessed through mainstream health care providers.”

Chris Marshall, General Manager at Charles Street Bar, said: “Charles Street Brighton is very pleased to be working with THT on this worthwhile and much needed initiative. THT has long partnered with us to help promote sexual health and wellbeing in the heart of Brighton’s LGBT community. We feel this monthly session brings another opportunity to reach members of the community who might otherwise have not been able or willing to access such support, in familiar and safe surroundings and also in such a convenient way.”

Charles Street Bar is located at 8 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TA. Following the launch, the testing service will run from 9.00pm-11.30pm on the first Thursday of each month. To find out more about THT’s services in Brighton, please contact Ross Boseley on (01273) 764 200 or email info.brighton@tht.org.uk.

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