Well pharmacists are participating in a new initiative in the West Midlands and Cumbria, with pharmacists being trained to use HIV point-of-care testing kits to screen and counsel patients in community pharmacies. By providing walk-in access for screening in a safe space, Well pharmacy is contributing to the early diagnoses of sexual health diseases, working towards achieving a critical public health goal.
Well Pharmacy Fusehill in Carlisle has now been labelled a ‘sexual health hub pharmacy’ that can provide a full package of sexual health screening and prevention including tests for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea, and the provision of free condoms. This marks a real step forward in screening in the community with a positive impact on the reduction of sexual health diseases.
Concerned patients receive an HIV and syphilis test result within minutes in the pharmacy, often leading to fast-track referral, allowing medical treatment to commence immediately. The process can also help to alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with long wait times for results. Late HIV diagnosis leads to higher patient mortality and therefore early medical intervention can have a significant impact on the patient’s long-term health.
Andrew Dawson, Pharmacist at the Well Fusehill in Carlisle has received a Silver Star Award, one of the highest accolades available at the Well Group, for his pivotal role in the launch of this new screening programme.
Andrew commented: “I’m absolutely delighted that my team and I have been recognised for our work on this important initiative. This screening programme means that people in the Cumbrian community can be diagnosed as early as possible, leading to a better prognosis in the long term. I would encourage anyone in the local area who is concerned that they may be at risk of a sexually transmitted disease to pop into the pharmacy and speak to one of our team in our private consultation room.”