Think you’ve got an STD? Order test kit by smartphone & get the results by text or email


People who think they have a sexual disease but are too embarrassed to pop down to the clinic can order a “sex MOT” from their smartphone.

By going online they will be sent a home testing kit and samples are then posted to a lab with results sent via text or email.

The mail-order tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and HIV.

If they test positive patients are referred to their local clinic and fast tracked dodging the queue.

If HIV positive, they will receive a call from a clinician.

And the not for profit firm behind the cyber-testing scheme said it can slash the costs to the NHS by over half.

RexMan in consultation
Check up: People are being offered option of home testing kit

Each tests costs £65 compared to the current £160 as more than a third of patients visiting clinics don’t have anything wrong with them and are in the clear.

This alone could save the NHS £80m a year.

The tests results are sent back in just days rather than the current 7 to 10 days.

And as there are no waiting times or appointments everyone can be “seen” from the comfort of their own home.

The online service offers has already been available to patients from Lambeth and Southwark, two boroughs with the highest infection rates in Britain.

The scheme SH:24 funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ charity works alongside the NHS and is looking to expand to cover the whole country.

Gonorrhoea during pregnancy, while not fatal for the mother, could put babies at risk with the increased chance of blindness in the child if untreated as well as an increased chance of getting or passing on HIV.

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Chlamydia often shows no symptoms, but can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy which can be life threatening for women.

RexSTI test
Service: Test results are emailed or sent via text

Syphilis, if left untreated can result in serious effects on the bones, heart and central nervous system, while HIV can cause AIDS if left unchecked.

Gillian Holdsworth, a consultant in Public Health Medicine and Programme Director for SH:24, said: “We know that a third of people attending sexual health clinics could potentially self-manage using SH:24 thereby avoiding a clinic visit.

“We also know many people who want or need a test don’t get tested for a number of reasons – inconvenience, embarrassment about going to a clinic, or not realising they’re at risk.

“SH:24 aims to increase efficiency and improve the experience for users and radically improve sexual health outcomes.

“It’s available 24 hours a day, with confidentiality and results by text within a week guaranteed.

“The key patient benefits of SH:24 are improved access, no waiting time, confidentiality and faster results, whilst the benefits to local authorities are reduced costs and improved health of the population.”

Ruth Wallis, Director of Public Health for Lambeth and Southwark, said: “SH:24 aims to improve access to sexual health services for the population as a whole, while focusing on high-risk and hard-to-reach groups.

“Early diagnosis means early treatment and reduces the risk of passing on the infection.”

The concept has been nominated for a Health Services Journal (HSJ) industry award.

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