Today in the UK 1 person in 10 has a sexually transmissible infection (STI). This is expected to reach 2 people in 10 in five years time. The growth is fuelled by a rise in the number of sexual partners of people in the 18 to 25 age range, and a lack of sex education.
There are three problems. The first is lack of sex education; our research revealed some startling beliefs about STIs. The second is that bacterial pathogens responsible for STIs are increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Gonorrhea’s increasing resistance, has led public health agencies to predict a global epidemic. Both of these are beyond our scope.
The third problem, which we are tacking, is the barrier that prevents many people from being regularly tested, and typically from not receiving the medical intervention they need. From our research we found that people do not have themselves tested for the following reasons:
- Going to a clinic is inconvenient and time consuming.
- People dislike talking about their sex lives with medical staff.
- Some people are alienated by professional & clinical environments.
- Existing home tests have poor accuracy.
- Tests where a urine sample is taken at home and sent to a laboratory are expensive and there is a concern over privacy of the data.
The current lack of testing, and the fact that many STIs present no early symptoms, means that people are unwittingly spreading STIs.