Lambeth and Southwark residents experience some of the poorest sexual health in the country with high rates of all sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the highest incidence of HIV.
Our local services are not able to provide the service that our residents need and demand… there are long waits at walk in clinics, which frequently have to close their doors to manage high levels of demand, additionally alternatives are not well signposted...for example - do you know which pharmacies locally you can go to for a Chlamydia test and treatment? Do you know which GP practices provide a specialist sexual health service?
Many users who attend clinics are asymptomatic and can be labelled ‘the worried well’...at the same time there are significant numbers of people with unmet need out in the community. Some people are too embarrassed to consult with a specialist, but may benefit from a more discreet service. This is an example of a type of person for whom SH:24 will offer an alternative, more convenient and accessible service.
SH:24 secured a grant of £3m from the Guy's and St Thomas' Charity in 2012 to develop a digital sexual health service for Lambeth and Southwark which will be fully integrated with local NHS services. SH:24 will revolutionise sexual health care here using telephone and internet technologies to deliver sexual health care remotely 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We hope SH:24 will provide users with quality assured sexual health information, interactive sexual health risk assessments and health promotion advice, STI home testing kits sent to the users home and test results delivered electronically, signposting and/or referral to sexual health services as appropriate, telephone support and access to a range of contraceptives.