STI Epidemic UK | Get Tested From Home

Published on 21 October, 2015

Sexually Transmitted Infections in the UK: A Quiet and Constant Threat

At the height of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, the very mention of having unprotected sex and/or multiple partners would have created a state of panic amongst the public; it was a risk that was considered to be right up there with Russian roulette. While back then, nobody would have considered (or at least admitted to) engaging in risky sexual behaviour, the passing of time has softened our resolve, and we now find ourselves in the midst of what can only be termed as a new kind of pandemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

In England last year, there were 440,000 reported diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections — a number that is likely artificially low given that approximately 6 out of 10 cases of STI actually get reported in the UK. In Wales, the number of HIV cases were still continuing to rise as far back as 2009. In Scotland, the Herald recently reported that hundreds of children, some as young as 12, are being diagnosed each year with STIs.

So what is happening? Why, despite our wired-in lifestyles with constant feeds of real-time information is the UK finding itself in this position? As with so many things in life, the answer is likely as multi-faceted as the population itself. The Herald reported that the Scottish Government went on record saying that “it was down to councils to provide sex education”, leaving the baton of accountability at the doorstep of our already-overburdened local authorities. In England, Kirklees council recently announced that they would be slashing the budget for STI testing by over a third, from £3 million to £1.9 million, a decrease of a whopping 36%.

While budget cuts have become an all too familiar necessity in our National Health Service of late, the larger message that is being spread about our sexual health, however unintentionally, is that it is just not a priority.

However, all is not lost. With public sexual health resources in such dire straits, there has been a new crop of independent sexual health testing services that are beginning to swoop-in and shoulder some of the burden. Websites like DrFelix offer a full range of sexual health testing kits, including chlamydia andgonorrhoea test, HPV test, HIV test, hepatitis B & C, HPV test, and Syphilis.

DrFelix provides a discreet and convenient online-based service, and works directly with GMC-credentialed British doctors and The Doctors Laboratory (TDL Ltd), a leading UK pathology laboratory. Patrons to the DrFelix website can simply fill-out a consultation form, discreetly order their STI testing kits online, and once received, send their samples to the lab, postage-paid. Test results are texted or emailed to them once they are confirmed, and any positive results will receive follow-up treatment options via the DrFelix doctors. While it may not relieve the immediate burden of say, a 36% budget cut, it is an excellent start; a move that provides a safe harbour to those who find themselves adrift, without the resources to improve their sexual health. Read about our STD comparison across Europe research article here.


Originally published at on October 21, 2015.

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