Patients attending the Sydney Sexual Health Centre (SSHC) can now access a faster screening service for sexually transmissible infections with the launch of its new Xpress Clinic.

In a first for NSW, the Xpress Clinic speeds up the screening process by giving clients without symptoms a computer-assisted self-interview and allowing them to collect their own specimens.

Asymptomatic patients will receive a kit from a nurse for blood and urine specimens and throat swabs.

SSHC director Dr Anna McNulty said the length of time spent waiting in a clinic was one of the most common barriers to people attending STI clinics and, with shorter waiting times, the Xpress Clinic could overcome this barrier.

The Xpress Clinic had a shorter time in SSHC, with people spending as little as 35 minutes being screened as opposed to 50 minutes, and shorter waiting times — four minutes as opposed to 28 minutes.

However, people will still need to wait some days for their test results to come back.

“Sexually transmissible infections continue to be an important community health concern,” McNulty said. “Increasing the frequency of testing is an effective strategy for reducing infections in the community.”

The Xpress Clinic was designed especially with people who are at a higher risk of having STIs and who should have regular sexual health checks in mind.

Gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers and people aged 24 and under who are not displaying any obvious STI symptoms are all welcome to use the service.

SSHC’s Xpress Clinic received a commendation for service delivery in the 2010 NSW Government Premier’s Public Sector Awards, and was a finalist in the 2010 South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service Excellence in Healthcare Awards.

The Xpress Clinic is at SSHC, level 3 Nightingale Building, Sydney Hospital, Macquarie St and is open 9am-6pm, Monday to Friday.

info: NSW Sexual Health Information line 1800 451 624 (free call), Sydney Sexual Health Centre on 02 9382 7440.

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