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Irish Family Planning Association and Lloyds Online Doctor partner to offer low-cost confidential testing for common STIs

By August 10, 2013News

12 August 2013

Lloyds Online Doctor and the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) have announced a partnership to provide home testing kits for common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV. The low-cost confidential testing service complements the existing services offered at IFPA clinics, providing a further option for individuals concerned that they may have contracted an STI.

“Accessible and affordable testing is key to diagnosis and early treatment, and this service is a welcome addition to the services we offer at our clinics,” said Dr. Caitriona Henchion, IFPA Medical Director. “Eliminating barriers to STI testing services is critical, in particular for people living in remote areas who face challenges in accessing testing services located in public hospitals, and for people on low-income who can be required to pay upwards of €125 for a full screening at local STI clinics.

“STI rates in Ireland have risen significantly in recent years, and we lack an adequate framework to respond to the need for testing. Developing innovative ways of facilitating access to STI testing services must be a central priority for Ireland’s forthcoming National Sexual Health Strategy.”

The HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (1) provisional report for 2012 indicates that:

  • Poor sexual health is concentrated in young adults, with more than half of STI notifications  among those aged 20 to 29 years
  • While chlamydia trachomatis was the most frequently notified STI, accounting for 48.4% of notifications in 2012, the number of notifications of gonorrhoea increased by 33% over 2011; as a result the incidence rate is now the highest rate ever recorded

“Any sexually active person may be exposed to an STI and we would advise them to get tested regularly, especially in light of the high rates of infection recorded among people in their 20s and 30s,” said Dr. Tom Brett of Lloyds Online Doctor. “In partnership with the Irish Family Planning Association we have developed a convenient and simple testing kit for chlamydia and gonorrhoea: You complete a short questionnaire to assess whether the online service is right for you. A home test kit will then be sent to your nominated address. Collect your sample at home then post it to our partner laboratory in Dublin. You will then be notified of your results via your confidential online record. The tests are as accurate as any test from a clinic and your results are completely confidential.”

The standard sexual health service from Lloyds Online Doctor tests for genital chlamydia and genital gonorrhoea which together account for the majority of sexually transmitted infections in Ireland. As both infections are often asymptomatic, testing is critical if an individual is concerned they may have been exposed. If left untreated, both infections can cause serious health problems. An enhanced test also tests for HIV in addition to chlamydia and gonorrhoea. The standard service costs €50 and the enhanced service €70 inclusive of postage compared to tests costing upwards of €125.

The IFPA and Lloyds Online Doctor stressed that any individual experiencing severe pain from a suspected STI infection should not use the testing service and should instead visit an IFPA clinic without delay. Other common STI infections such as genital warts and genital herpes usually present symptoms such as obvious lesions and should also be treated at an IPFA clinic.

For more information on all services please see https://www.lloydsonlinedoctor.ie/ or on our site.

Current IFPA information on common STIs

Notes

  • Lloyds Online Doctor launched an online prescription renewal service for the oral contraceptive pill in June and will continue to provide new and innovative healthcare services for Irish patients. Lloyds Online Doctor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Celesio, a leading international trading company and provider of logistics and services to the healthcare sector. Since 2002, the company has managed over 500,000 patients.  In the UK, the company provides many of its services on behalf of recognised brands such as ASDA and Netdoctor.co.uk as well as white label services for the NHS. The company’s UK service was nominated for the BT Retail Week awards for ecommerce Innovation of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for the UK Patient Safety Awards for best use of technology to improve patient safety.
  • The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) is Ireland’s leading sexual health charity. The organisation promotes the right of all people to sexual and reproductive health information and dedicated, confidential and affordable healthcare services.
  • Med Lab Pathology provides laboratory services for Lloyds Online Doctor from its facility in Dublin, combining proven international capabilities and local expertise to provide internationally recognised best practice in laboratory medicine to the Irish healthcare sector.

References:

  1. Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections in Ireland available at http://www.hpsc.ie