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Thursday, July 25, 2024

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TOPHER TALKS: Topher Taylor gives you the 101 on Sexual Health London

We are used to hearing “New Year, New Me!” which I really, really like. I cherish the idea of being able to reinvent myself á la Madonna, learn from my mistakes, and take the wisdom of the past 365 days to do my best to make life better. I KNOW that people eye-roll at this, but hey, I am corny. I was thinking for 2024, we should think about saying: “New Year, New-understanding-of-my-sexual- health-and-status?”.

I appreciate that this doesn’t roll of the tongue as easy, but it does help you have OTHER things rolling off your tongue with more comfort and confidence (if you get me). This
is what great sex should always be about, next to communication. One of the best ways to have this improved understanding of your sexual health and status is by STI testing.

I have always seen my trimonthly (sometimes more regularly, due to filming for OnlyFans) sexually transmitted infections test as my personal MOT. It is a few hours of self-care that I treat myself to for peace of mind, clarity, and out of respect for my partner(s).

We are so lucky to have such easy access to testing in London and should not take it for granted. Not for a millisecond. I usually test, in person, at Jefferiss Wing in St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington but for the times that my work schedule is mad or they seem particularly busy and it’s not urgent– I will do a home- testing kit via Sexual Health London, also known as SHL.

Sexual Health London is an amazing organisation that provides Londoners with a quick, easy, and discreet way to sexual-health- screen themselves at home. The little cardboard box comes with all the easy-to-use apparatus inside, detailed instructions, alongside effortless freepost returns. It is an incredible service, run by a fabulous, dedicated team, and really proves how lucky we are to have access to such futuristic and effortless healthcare.

How easy is it to order a home- testing kit from SHL in London?

To create an order, the user should register for SHL online (a UK mobile number is required) and request an order by answering clinical triage questions online. Responses given determine which clinical advice, signposting, and services are offered. The SHL website is written in English but can be converted into other languages using Google Translate. There’s a dedicated customer support team operational Monday to Friday to assist with any technical issues and order queries. And there is also a dedicated clinical team operational Monday to Friday to assist with any health or clinical concerns.

Is it discreet?

SHL is a website, not an application, and “cover my tracks” information
is on the website to assist service users who wish to use the website discreetly. All orders are sent in plain, non-branded packing to the service user’s chosen address. Service users also have the choice to collect their order from a terrestrial clinic, pharmacy or click-and-collect store (dependent on the type of order).

How quickly can I get my results?

Over 98% of service users receive their results within 2 working days of the kit arriving at the laboratory. When results are ready, the service user logs on to their account to view. If there is a reactive result the appropriate member of clinical staff contacts the service user directly via the preferred means of contact. Results will only be discussed after the service user completes security checks. Service users are informed of the process and agree to the appropriateness of this, at the registration stage.

Is it possible to inform partners anonymously of positive results?

Yes. Service users who receive treatment for an infection via SHL are managed via a dedicated clinical team and a Health Adviser will be assigned to initiate and complete partner notification with a service user. A Provider Referral is a mode of partner notification where clinical staff inform contacts anonymously and SHL provides this service.

Will my GUM clinic recognise SHL results for treatment?
Terrestrial clinics that have signed up to an information-sharing agreement with SHL have their own login access to view service user’s results, notes, and history. This fosters a seamless transition into care.

If you want to order a free Sexual Health London home-testing for STI’s kit, visit www.SHL.uk

Go give our Topher a follow @tophertaylor


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