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Males and Over 30s Could Be Behind Historic High in STI Rates, as Medichecks Reveals Test-Buying Trends

Data from the UK’s leading healthcare test provider has identified males and thirtysomethings as the biggest buyers of kits to detect chlamydia and gonorrhoea – with demand for at-home testing at an all-time high.

The research found that males account for 70% of sales, whilst almost half (48%) of buyers are aged 31 to 40.

The study from Medichecks supports Public Health England’s data released earlier this month, which showed that gonorrhoea cases have increased 26% between 2018 and 2019, reaching their highest levels since records began in 1918.

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Medichecks’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sam Rodgers, explains: “We’ve conducted hundreds of chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests since 2009 and, like Public Health England, noted a rise in demand from 2018 to 2019.

“This indicates there is a potential issue with unprotected casual sex, with thirtysomethings arranging more of their own testing for sexually transmitted infections than any other age group, and a significant skew for males to buy them. Whilst the number of tests being taken is increasing, it’s encouraging to see people taking a proactive approach, so they know their infection status.”

A 2020 study of 4,000 sexually active Briton conducted by Medichecks found that:

  • People ordering STI tests from Northern Ireland were most likely to be clear of infection, with just a 1.1% detection rate
  • Those in the North East were most likely to have picked up a sexual infection, with a 6.6% positive rate
  • Mondays are the most popular day to buy at home STI testing kits, with Saturdays the least popular

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Dr Rodgers added: “We’ve seen a significant spike in demand during lockdown, which we believe reflects difficulties in accessing GP or other community STI support, rather than an increase in risky sexual behaviour.

“If left untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause a wide range of serious, life-threatening complications. Thankfully discreet at-home testing kits are helping people to manage their sexual health more effectively and avoid serious consequences. Sexual Health Week is a good time to raise awareness of how these tests can help, particularly given the uncertainty around potential lockdown measures heading into winter, which could make a GP or clinic less accessible.”

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