Congratulations to 56 Dean Street for collecting the award for ‘Improving Care with Technology’ at this year’s Health Service Journal Awards on 19th November at Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
The Foundation provided 56 Dean Street its first grant to purchase home sampling HIV testing kits aimed to encourage men who have sex with men (MSM) who are at high risk of HIV but who have never been tested before, to get tested. The kits are part of a three step process using on line technology to encourage people to get tested. It uses the Gaydar social networking site to target its registered users in England to have an online pre-test discussion about their health. They are then offered a home sampling HIV test to be sent to them in the post via the service delivered through Dr Thom. Tests that turn out positive are forwarded to 56 Dean Street for confirmatory testing, support and follow up care.
By the end of June 2013, 4838 MSM had requested a testing kit. A total of 2901 samples have been returned (60% return rate). Of the 2901 samples returned 68 were reactive - a positivity rate of 2.3%. The programme appears to have reached men who have sex with men who are at high risk of HIV in particular reaching a ‘more untested’ population (37% of users had never been tested before) and many of the users said they would recommend using the service to a friend.
The programme has been supported by Public Health England as well as being advertised through well-known gay magazines, clubs and social networks.
Services like this are particularly important to help prevent further spread of HIV. Recent statistics show that the HIV diagnosis amongst over 50s in the UK is on the rise and up to 10,000 gay men in the UK are living with HIV and don’t know it. This should not be the case in a country where HIV tests, condoms, and information are openly available. That is why the NHS services are determined to make HIV testing as convenient as possible for the service user, particularly at 56 Dean Street which offers evening and Saturday GUM clinics, as well as the new free home HIV testing service.
“We’ve always tried to be at the forefront of developing high quality services. In 2003, we were the first NHS service to offer rapid 1 hour HIV POC testing. As a consequence, the clinic has won several national awards for its excellent, innovative and engaging work. We aim to deliver a first class HIV and sexual health service for all our patients by utilising the latest technology in a modern environment, delivered by a warm and friendly team of staff.”
Dean Street itself has a long history of providing sexual health services. The world’s first VD clinic for men was based at 91 Dean Street, London in 1862. Over the years the Dean Street clinic has had several different names and has been based in different parts of London. Originally it was part of the Westminster Hospital and was known as Outpatient 6. It was at the Westminster Hospital that Professor Brian Gazzard diagnosed one of Europe’s first cases of AIDS in 1981.
You can find out more about 56 Dean Street on their website: http://www.deanstreetathome.com/
And some useful FAQs about HIV and HIV testing. http://www.deanstreetathome.com/faq
To find a sexual health clinic in England: www.fpa.org.uk/findaclinic