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Improving accessibility to STI testing for young people.

Early detection of STIs leads to better health outcomes. Local availability of self-testing kits that are convenient, discrete and easy to use for young people will encourage and normalize testing.

Read comments 4
  • Proposal
  • 2022

Meet the team

Also:

  • Roisin Santin
  • Lysdsey Hasson
  • Kate Gribbon
  • Andrew Martin

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

The highest diagnostic rates of the common STIs occur in 16-24 year old females and 20-34 year old males; with people aged 16-34 year old accounting for approximately 80% of new STIs. Common STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea are often symptomless, and if left untreated increase the risk of complications and onward transmission to others.

By digitising  the delivery of results we can hope to improve anonymity and encourage more people to test, in order to improvement process efficiency.  

The impact of the COVID pandemic on rates of testing and diagnosis can be evidenced and it finds:

·         New diagnoses of chlamydia decreased by 58%; 775 diagnoses in 2020 compared with 1,863 in 2019

·         New diagnoses of gonorrhoea decreased by 52%; 455 in 2020 compared with 951 in 2019

·         There was a 72% decrease in STI testing in GUM clinics in 2020 when compared with 2019

·         There was a 43% decrease in the number of new STIs reported through Northern Ireland GUM clinics in 2020 when compared with 2019

What does your project aim to achieve?

Early detection of STIs leads to better health outcomes. We anticipate that local availability of self-testing kits in locations that are heavily populated and convenient to young people aged 16-25 years old will increase the number of young people testing. Ease of access to the self-testing kits offers young people a choice on how and when to test. Furthermore, sustained visibility, accessibility and convenience of self-testing kits will influence and normalise STI testing and the uptake of testing with young people. This offers young people the advantage of patient autonomy, confidentiality, convenience and privacy as they do not have to take the test at home. Results are delivered digitally and access to online platform allows participants access to further information and guidance on sexual health.

How will the project be delivered?

A Trust Wide pilot of home testing kits was initiated in February 2022 for asymptomatic service users aged 16-25 due to limited  access to face to face services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We Worked closely with our stakeholders who include local further education colleges and students to shape a service that is responsive and co designed to meet their needs.

Using the online platform we are able to analyze the data of usage and the demographic of the service user, in order to support continual improvement of the service provided.

Due to the use of the online platform the trust are able to save on resources in the form of Staffing which in turn can supplement the existing Nurse Led service.

The risk is minimized for the service user as there is a number of safeguarding questions and signposting for additional support.

How is your project going to share learning?

Share learning through the Trusts internal comms team: including social media and advertising.

Within the Well-Being Bulletin.

Share on Q Community website.

Also Share with the Sexual Health Improvement Network and PHA commissioners.

Link in with Local QI team and submit application for Health Care awards both regionally and Nationally as well at at conferences.

Poster campaigns within FE colleges and other youth settings.

How you can contribute

  • We would welcome people who have already implemented digital ways in which to engage and communicate with those involved in STI testing.
  • If anyone has insight and experience into safe and confidential digital platforms that have been used previously to deliver test results this too would be welcomed.

Plan timeline

6 Feb 2022 Pilot Project commenced
1 May 2022 Co-production meeting with FE college staff and young people
30 May 2022 Procure sti kits and vending machines
1 Jun 2022 Co-production meeting - communication, implementation strategy, awareness raising sessions in campus'
1 Sep 2022 communication campaign 1 - project launch in line with new academic year
1 Dec 2022 World AIDS Day - strategic communication campaign 2
4 Jan 2023 Review outcomes and trends
14 Feb 2023 Sexual Health Week - strategic communication campaign 3
3 Apr 2023 strategic communication campaign 4
1 May 2023 Review outcomes and trends

Comments

  1. Guest

    Lynne Smart 3 months, 1 week ago

    Great proposal Roisin and Lyndsey and increasing access to home test kits will encourage at-risk young individuals who may not otherwise be screened, to self-test for sexually transmitted infections.  Good Luck,    Lynne

  2. Guest

    Lynne Smart 3 months, 1 week ago

    Great proposal Roisin and Lyndsey to extend this access to  home test kits which will encourage at-risk young individuals who may not otherwise be screened, to self-test for sexually transmitted infections.   Good luck.    Lynne

  3. Cailin and Roisin.  This is a great idea.  A tough topic for people of any age as there is significant stigma surrounding STIs.  Having an innovative approach to maintain anonymity and reduce stress and fears on users, may have a great impact on those willing to engage with services.  Best of luck with the work.

  4. Roisin this is a great project that can have a real positive impact on the health of young people. The ability to engage and involve young people in their care is critical. Can you tell us a little bit more about the digital side of your project?

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