The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the health care industry into an unusual situation as doctors have had to handle a reduced face to face capacity.
Nationally, sexual health clinics have been running to about 50 per cent capacity.
But Dr Benjamin Goorney, a sexual health consultant from Salford Primary Care, doesn’t think that the reduction has been translated to Salford.
Dr Goorney said: “You can argue that there is a reduction in people contacting services but we haven’t noticed that in Salford certainly. We have been advising patients almost to normal capacity.
“We’ve been able to keep a reasonably adequate standard of service going and that people have not been neglected or ignored and that if they have got concerns we are able to address them.
“It’s been very challenging for all staff working in health care particularly sexual health, but certainly in Salford we’ve been able to continue to provide a service albeit very different to what we used to and we look forward to returning to some kind of normality in the new year.”
There has been a big change in how services have been carried out, with sexual health services being more inclined to online services and many of Salford Surgeries have non-contact dispensary clinics for STI treatments.
Dr Goorney stated: “We normally encourage from a medical viewpoint that people get tested whenever there’s a change of relationship or new partner or a recent casual partner.
“It’s up to the individual but it is good practice at the beginning of any new relationship that both partners get tested.
“Regular testing is good health prevention and Dr Goorney states: “Generally STIs have much less stigma associated than there used to be but there is still a way to go.”
For more information on the matter, Dr Goorney has discussed the stigma with STIs in the video below.
STI testing has gradually crept back up to near normal in Salford, and many people are being referred to online testing services. Which are directly linked in to clinics for treatment follow up and tracing.
“Against the backdrop of Covid when people have got to look after themselves and keep others safe found by necessity if you’re having to socially distance more you would expect there’d be less opportunity for casual sexual encounters because the priority is Covid.”
Most services have been referring towards online testing if it is appropriate. If symptoms are present or there is a high risk of infection or have been in contact with an STI, then they need to seek advice with a clinic beforehand. Then the clinic would advise whether it’s appropriate to do a sexual health screening online or whether they can be seen face to face because services are restricted.