New express STI testing at Altnagelvin Hospital announced

Promoting Sexual Health Week from left to right are: Chi Zhou, Healthcare Assistant, Western Trust; Ann Linstrom, Health Improvement Officer, Western Trust; Dr Nuala Cavanagh, Specialty Doctor in GUM, Western Trust; Ann Stewart, Specialty Nurse, GUM, Western Trust and Collette Cassidy, Vice President, Magee Student's Union.
Promoting Sexual Health Week from left to right are: Chi Zhou, Healthcare Assistant, Western Trust; Ann Linstrom, Health Improvement Officer, Western Trust; Dr Nuala Cavanagh, Specialty Doctor in GUM, Western Trust; Ann Stewart, Specialty Nurse, GUM, Western Trust and Collette Cassidy, Vice President, Magee Student's Union.

The Western Trust is launching a new express service to test for sexually transmitted infections at Altnagelvin Hospital while partnering with others to raise awareness of sexual health and issues around consent.

The Trust’s Health Improvement Equality and Involvement Department i working with the Regional Sexual Health Network to support NI’s Sexual Health Week this week, following on from the launch of the ‘No Grey Zone’ campaign.

The No Grey Zone campaign is led by PSNI and supported by sexual violence charities, prosecutors and student unions. It includes the development of a website providing information and sign posting to local support services (www.nogreyzone.com).

Initiatives during this week involve medical staff from the local GUM Clinic visiting the Magee campus and offering STI testing. While at the campus they will also be promoting the new Express Sexual Health Service, which runs on Monday evenings from 5pm to 7pm at Anderson House Clinic at Altnagelvin Hospital.

This new service provides testing for those aged 18 and over who do not have any symptoms and results are provided the next day. There is, however, strict inclusion criteria so the advice is to ring ahead first to the clinic.

Trust Health Improvement Officer Ann Linstrom said: “The Health Improvement Equality and Involvement Department in partnership with the Public Health Agency, have been working this year to train practitioners who work with young people around sexual consent. This work complements key messages from the No Grey Zone initiative as well as echoing messages provided by the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Community Facilitators who deliver work around sexual consent directly to young people in communities.

“In addition, Sexual Health Week is a great opportunity to provide people with information about looking after their sexual health and encouraging those who may have had unprotected sex to access sexual health services for a check-up. Just because a person may not have any symptoms does not mean they do not have an STI.

“Our new information pack which we have developed to promote the campaign, as well as consultation work with students about sexual health services is available on the Western Trust website www.westerntrust.hscni.net,” she said.

For information or resources that support sexual health week, contact Ann Linstrom by email: Ann.Linstrom@westerntrust.hscni.net or tel: 028 71865127.

The website www.sexualhealthni.info contains information on sexual health and clinics across Northern Ireland.