Worried about STIs? A new digital photo-based service has launched for those who have noticed something not quite right, but are too nervous to get checked
The new service by Better2Know, the UK’s leading sexual health testing provider, aims to help people who are too embarrassed or nervous to get checked. And there’s a lot of us that are hiding away from the truth - despite young people under the age of 25 experiencing the highest STI diagnosis rates in the UK, one in five admitted to never having been tested because they were too embarrassed.
“Our hope is that the photo consultation service will be the first step for many on a journey towards better sexual health and receiving a diagnosis, advice and treatment where necessary,” said Anthea Morris, co-founder of Better2Know.
“Some patients can, understandably, feel a little anxious about getting tested for an STI, especially if it is their first time getting a check up... However, STIs do not always produce visible symptoms, so it is important for people who are sexually active to get tested regularly - regardless of whether or not they are experiencing any visible indications of an STI.”
How does it work?
The STI photo consultation service gives people the option to email in photographs of their visible symptoms to medical professionals for advice and consultation. It works by encouraging people to take photographs of their symptoms (such as rashes, lumps, lesions or other blemishes) and emailing them to a secure and private inbox.
Following examination of a patient’s photograph, a doctor will respond to the patient, discussing their findings and advising on the appropriate next steps.
For those who are uncomfortable or unable to visit a clinic in person, patients can also opt for self-administered testing kits (available for many STIs) which Better2Know can send via post.
Once patients have administered the test and returned the sample to Better2Know, they can access their results, when notified, via the secure online patient portal.
How accurate is the service?
“Our photo consultation service will help anyone with a sore or blemish that concerns them,” explains Michael Asher, co-founder of Better2Know.
“Better2Know’s skilled doctors will be able to diagnose most causes of these blemishes from a good quality photograph, speeding the time to treatment, and limiting any inconvenience to the patient. With any positive diagnosis, Better2Know will offer its full range of support services, including further consultations, testing, counselling and treatment, if required.”
As well as test results, the patient portal provides access to plenty of resources, including easy-to-read fact-sheets, details on treatment such as counselling and next steps, and 24/7 support and information on the STI(s) in question.
The portal also enables patients to send anonymous text or email messages to previous partners, if they aren’t comfortable doing so directly. The message notifies the person that a “person that cares about them has recently tested positive for an STI” and provides details of the relevant infection and how to get tested.
Learn more about getting tested and the virtual testing services on Better2Know.