Essex Sexual Health Service have launched a new online system which makes it simpler for people across the county to access NHS sexual health services.
The new Personal Health Record system will allow those seeking STI testing, contraception and sexual health support to book appointments and request testing kits and condoms through a single online log-in.
“Like many of the services we all use, our users tell us they would like to access support in a simple way and at a time that’s convenient for them. Our new online portal makes this much easier” says Georgina Wood, Navigation Hub Team Lead.
The portal will allow users to book and alter appointments with sexual health clinics and professionals, order and track STI self-testing kits and manage their personal information, all in one location.
Users will be asked to register using their email address, which will then be verified within 24 hours. All information held by the system is completely confidential and will not be linked to any other NHS health records.
“Our new portal is about putting our service users in control. People can of course still call us but, rather than waiting on the phone, they can now get instant online access to a range of sexual health tools and support.” states Michelle Parker, Director – Business Development.
Through their personal profile, users will be able to request self-testing kits for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and HIV.
The portal allows users to track their order, confidentially review their subsequent test results online and reorder test kits in future.
“Unfortunately, STIs are still a frequent occurrence throughout our community and not just in younger groups. The portal makes it easier to identify them early and get free condoms to help protect ourselves and our partners” adds Sue Luty, Interim Operational Sexual Health Lead.
Users aged over 25 and living in Essex (excluding Southend, which has a different service provider) can also use the online portal to request free condoms. These can either be discretely sent by mail or collected from a number of local clinics.
People in Essex aged 16 to 24 can also access free condoms via the eC-Card app which is available from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Once downloaded, they can select one of many collection points across the county and pick up 10 condoms and lubricant in a discreet pack.
One of Essex Sexual Health Service’s key aims is to break down the stigma associated with sexual health by normalising talking about sex.
“We hope word will spread about the new online portal and it will be another way to help make discussing good sexual health a greater part of everyday life” concludes Sue Luty, Interim Operational Sexual Health Lead.
Essex Sexual Health Services delivers NHS-funded sexual health services across Essex. They provide free information, support and treatment to help people stay safe, healthy and protected.
More information about ESHS, the new Personal Health Record online system and the eC-Card app can be found at: www.eshs.org.uk