A rapid testing service for chlamydia and gonorrhoea yields significant patient and public health benefits

Aquarius Population Health, a leading independent health economics consultancy, worked with Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust to assess the impact of Dean Street Express, their award winning sexual health clinic in Soho, London. This service tests symptom-free people wanting a routine sexual health check-up using an on-site 90-minute chlamydia and gonorrhoea rapid test. They estimated the patient and public health benefits of their rapid testing service, and compared to the standard sexual health service that didn’t offer rapid delivery of test results.

Aquarius developed a statistical model using anonymous patient data from both clinics. They estimated that the people accessing the Dean Street Express clinic nearly doubled over a year, while attendances at the standard clinic remained stable, suggesting that a rapid testing service is very attractive to people who need it. Using the rapid test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea meant that people were notified of their result in just 6.5 hours compared to 9 days for standard services. Early identification and treatment of patients with an infection has significant patient and public health benefits, and this service prevented an estimated 196 onward transmissions of chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea. The researchers also estimated that rapid identification of positive individuals could yield annual cost savings of £124,283 due to reduced partner attendances. If this service were implemented nationally, it could prevent roughly 2,000 new transmissions and prevent over 8,000 partner attendances.

Dr Elisabeth Adams, Managing Director of Aquarius Population Health comments:

“This evaluation was a fantastic opportunity to work with Dean Street Express to generate evidence for the value of their innovative service. We validated the theoretical work we did with them several years ago before the service was implemented to show the impact of rapid testing. The results provide extremely valuable insight to other sexual health services considering offering a rapid on-site testing service.”

Dr Gary Whitlock, Genitourinary Medicine Consultant, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust comments:

“Since we opened the Dean Street Express clinic, we have seen an increase in demand for people who want rapid testing for sexually transmitted infections. It is great that we can offer this service, knowing that we are having a real impact on patient and public health, treating those who need it and reducing onward transmission.”

 The full results of the service evaluation are published Open Access in the International Journal of STD and AIDS and can be accessed here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0956462417736431