A HYWEL Dda pilot project which allows people to test themselves at home for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea has been extended by the Health Minister, Vaughan Gething.
The Test and Post (TAP) project run by Hywel Dda University Health Board, Public Health Wales and Signum Health, and funded by Welsh Government, began in November 2018 as a means of enabling people to carry out a home STI test and post their samples to a laboratory for analysis without having to attend a sexual health clinic. Survey results have shown a 100% positive response by those using the pilot scheme.
People using the service are initially asked to complete an online questionnaire which is designed to screen out individuals who may not be showing any symptoms. They may then be directed to a sexual health clinic if this is the best course of action for them, while others are encouraged to order a test and post kit which they can use in the privacy of their own home. Those who use a kit are then notified of their results by SMS or telephone.
The service has so far allowed £24,353 to be re-directed within the Sexual Health Service to meet demand, so that the impact of sexually transmitted infections is minimised both through treatment to reduce transmission and also to reduce any long term complications in individuals.
Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething, said: “The initial pilot has been positively received by those using the service. TAP has demonstrated that online testing provides a valuable service for patients who may not otherwise attend sexual health services. I’m pleased to confirm an extension of six months, which will help us gain a clear picture of how people would like to access sexual health services in Wales.”
Lisa Humphrey, Sexual Health Service Delivery Manager at Hywel Dda, said: “We’re delighted that the TAP pilot has proved to be so successful in the short time that it has been up and running in Hywel Dda. By answering an online screening questionnaire and providing a home testing kit to those who are eligible, we can ensure that people get the best care for their need.”
Zoe Couzens, Principal in Public Health (Sexual Health Programme Lead) at Public Health Wales added: “The TAP pilot project in Hywel Dda is helping to inform future service provision across Wales, so it’s great to see that it has made good progress early on.”