Figures released today show a huge 186% rise in the number of home-testing STI kits being requested, with the number of sexually transmitted infections also increasing.
Figures released by Public Health England revealed the top-10 hot spots for sexually transmitted infections in the country are all in London.
Today, a report by LetsGetChecked, shows there has been a considerable rise in the demand for STI home testing kits. Between January 2019 and January 2020 there was an increase of 186% – this doubles last year’s records.
The figures for STIs in London are rising at an alarming rate. Gonorrhoea and syphilis top the list, with reports from last year showing numbers of cases not seen since World War Two.
Last year, a study released by Euroclinix confirmed Londoners are the most sexually active population in the UK, with 5% counting up to 91 or more sexual partners throughout their life.
According to Dr Tara Suchak, a consultant at 56 Dean Street, which is London’s biggest sexual health clinic, hook-up culture and dating apps may have also influenced the rise of STIs and the consequential higher demand for home testing kits.
“A lot of people are having more sexual partners than they used to because of dating apps and how easy it is to find people to have sex with,” she says. “Attitudes towards condoms are changing, as well. We keep them in the clinic, but we’ve definitely seen less people asking for them.”
Dr Tara Suchak also finds there could be a link between cuts to sexual health funding and the rise in popularity of home testing.
But Dr Sean Cassidy, a doctor specialising in sexual health and HIV medicine at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, warns that even though home testing kits are useful, they should not be seen as an alternative to face to face clinic appointments.
The standard home testing kit provided by the NHS allows patients to get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV.