Obtaining sexual health advice and testing is now easier than ever for residents of south Bedfordshire due to a new integrated Contraception and Sexual Health (iCaSH) clinic.
The latest Dunstable Priory clinic was officially opened on Friday 9th November 2018 and is the second bespoke hub in the county, bringing all aspects of sexual health under one roof.
Since moving from Kirby Road surgery, clinic availability at Dunstable Priory has increased from once a week to three times a week and services have expanded to include:
- Treatment and testing for sexually transmitted infections,
- HIV care and treatment, and
- Psychosexual counselling.
Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Health at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “This is a fantastic clinic right on our doorsteps and I was glad to see it launched.
“Sexual health check-ups should be different to visiting the dentist or doctor and, along with the online testing that iCash is providing for us, we hope it will really have an impact for our residents.”
Greg Owen, Co-founder of IwantPrEPnow, a website which facilitates the safe purchase of genuine generic PrEP (the HIV prevention dug) cut the ribbon at the launch event. Mr Owen said: “Sex, intimacy and connection are such integral and intrinsic components of our nature and when those things are out of balance, under threat or in the worst cases exploited, it’s the whole person that’s impacted, not just their sex life.
“Services like these have played a huge part in my life previously and to walk into a clinic space and feel comfortable and at ease to talk without fear or judgement or shaming is so important.”
Cambridgeshire Community Services (CCS) NHS Trust has been delivering integrated Contraception and Sexual Health services (known as iCaSH Bedfordshire) in partnership with Brook and Terrence Higgins Trust since November 2016.
Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health at Bedford Borough Council, said: “Sexual health is an important and integral part of our overall health and the services at this modern, welcoming clinic in Dunstable are playing a vital role in improving the sexual health of the south Bedfordshire community by providing men and women with contraception that suits them, offering testing and treatment for a range of sexually transmitted infections and a safe space to talk about sex and relationships.”
In addition to the hub in Dunstable, which is open to all Bedfordshire residents, CCS NHS Trust has a hub in Bedford – Kings Brook – and continues to work with Brook and Terrence Higgins Trust, who provide community outreach services including free condoms, Chlamydia screening and sexual health advice and signposting.
There are additional clinics across the county in Biggleswade, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard.
Please visit www.icash.nhs.uk/where-to-go for more information.