In the internet era, we can do almost anything without leaving the comfort of our own houses – from shopping to meeting that someone special. We should not be at all surprised, therefore, that STI testing can be completed at home; in fact, given the strain on healthcare systems, this may be the way forward.
STIs have risen steadily over the last few decades. While some cause a range of unpleasant signs and symptoms, others may present with none at all and the suffer can remain unaware that they have been infected. Unfortunately, not only can this have implications for the long-term health of the individual but also it can put other people at risk.
Prevention through testing and treatment.
It is vital to break the cycle of the current STI epidemic, with public health services believing that testing and treatment will play a significant role. This is not only about looking after the individual infected but also offering a greater level of protection and prevention for the wider community. To provide this, there must be a shift, with a dramatically increased level of screening introduced.
Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers in place that prevent this becoming a reality – in the US through Trump, with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and through cuts to NHS budgets in the UK. This is where home STI testing kits may become an important way forward, filling some of the gaps in the care provided by primary care clinics.
At home testing
The majority of home testing kits are very easy to use. They can be bought online, with a range of collection methods offered depending upon the type of test. In London STI testing kits are available from organisations such as https://www.checkurself.org.uk. Once the results are back, the individual will be required to contact a local primary care clinic, such as a GP, for the appropriate treatment if an STI has been identified.
The main concerns
There are, of course, some concerns about people receiving the appropriate care following home STI testing. Receiving a positive result for any STI can be a very emotional and confusing time; however, it is hoped that home testing will help, at least in part, to break the current cycle.