By Peter Bampton
Prevention & Testing Team Manager
With lockdown restrictions lifting, the sun beaming and cocktails mulling, you might be feeling more in the mood to get back on the dating scene. Seeking intimacy and physical connection with sexual and romantic partners might be heightened as we’ve passed the 1-year milestone since the first COVID-19 lockdown began. It’s also a convenient reminder to take a full sexual health test at least once a year, or more regularly if you’re having condomless sex with multiple partners.
For the last 9 months, Positive East has offered an assisted sexual health screening service over Microsoft Teams and Zoom. The tests screen for gonorrhea, chlamydia, Hepatitis B & C, and syphilis. It’s free and confidential, and you’ll get your results within 2 weeks. The tests involves just a prick of the finger and swabs for your mouth, bum, and vagina and a urine sample test. We’ll give you tips on how to accurately take the tests, answer any questions around talking to partners about the sex you want to be having and the different ways you can prevent STIs and HIV.
We’re also really excited about resuming our face-to-face HIV and STI testing services from 17th May, including from our Stepney Green offices twice a week. Keep an eye on our website and social media to find where and when we’ll be testing in East London.
You might be feeling pressure to “get back out there” but take your time and think about what your needs and desires are. Sexual health should include pleasure and feeling a connection with those you’re having sex with. Whether you’re returning to the bars and pubs, navigating hookup apps, or taking some ‘me time’, you can chat to us about your experiences.
Visit www.positiveeast.org.uk/hiv-testing to book your test or arrange a chat with one of the team. You can also call us on 020 7791 2855 (option 3) or email email@example.com