Log on, check out.

06Nov09

The state of sexual healthcare in this country is dire. If you suspect you have an STI, you have two options – an interminably long wait for the GUIDE clinic at St James’s, or an expensive trip to a specialist STI clinic.

That’s not to say that the GUIDE clinic doesn’t provide an excellent and valuable service – it does, it just doesn’t have the resources to deal with the demand a free STI clinic generates, not to mention that it also does outpatient care for people diagnosed with HIV. And obviously, you can’t put a price on your health – €150 is a small price to pay if you were diagnosed with a harmful STI, but for most people, it’s not a financially viable option.

If you suspect you have an STI, you have to choose – give up a day of work, or give up €150. Not great choices, and they seem even more unreasonable when you just want a checkup. The system in Ireland positively prohibits anyone from taking a proactive attitude to sexual health, a risky and backwards strategy given our increased interest in sexy funtimes these days.

This is why I was both delighted and heartened to spot a poster advertising an “online sexual health clinic” in the window of my local Unicare pharmacy. Lloyd’s pharmacy in the UK recently made the headlines by announcing it was to start selling the morning after pill online, prompting debate about responsible usage and risk factors – this move, however, is wholly positive.

While home STI testing kits (mainly for Chlamydia and gonorrhoea) have been around for some time, it takes a brave person to walk into their local chemist and cheerfully pick one up while making small talk with the cashier.

unicare

Unicare’s service lets you order the test online and have it posted to you, allowing you to take the test, send the samples to their UK labs, and receive the results in strict confidence; on your own time; and affordably, too. Registration is quick, and according to the site, the whole process takes just a couple of weeks to complete. They’ll even text you when the results are ready!

While the service just offers two types of test at present – Chlamydia and gonorrhoea – it’s undoubtedly a positive step for those seeking a quick checkup. Since neither of the two STIs included in the scheme typically show any symptoms, it’s a fantastic step forward in letting the Irish population take more responsibility for their sexual health.

Go to online.unicarepharmacy.ie for more details.

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One Response to “Log on, check out.”

  1. Totally did not know about this. V. interesting!


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