Online testing 'doubles number of STI checks' in UK
The advent of online sexual health services across the UK has helped to double the number of people being checked for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in recent months.
Research carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King's College London and published in the journal PLOS Medicine showed that a recent shift to cheaper, online sexual health services has served to increase the number of those being tested for their sexual health.
The report found that e-STI testing has proven extremely popular among the British public, with the researchers suggesting the "more discreet" nature of online testing has played a role in pushing up patient numbers.
Caroline Free, one of the study's researchers, told the Independent: "Sexual health clinics play an important role in community health but some people may find them inconvenient or stigmatising, which can stop them attending."
Overall, the results of the study have proven compelling, comparing the difference in testing rates between individuals advised to carry out online tests and those directed to attend a sexual health clinic near to them.
It found that, far from the switch to online services putting people off from undertaking the tests, those being offered online consultations and home STI testing options were 50 per cent more likely to get themselves checked.
Demand for sexual health services across the UK was shown to have risen considerably during the last year, coming at a time of cuts to many NHS services - it was this push for increased flexibility which originally prompted the switch to more online services.