Introduction Many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are known to disproportionately affect men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK; therefore regular easily accessible asymptomatic screening is vital among this group. Asymptomatic screening pathways that allow healthcare support workers (HSCWs) to see patients can reduce long clinic waits, which may encourage more people to attend for screening and increase capacity for screening.
Methods We developed and trialled an asymptomatic pathway for MSM within our service. This extended our existing pathway, which allowed asymptomatic service users to complete a questionnaire and see a HCSW, to include MSM, as it previously had not. The service was piloted, then implemented and audited.
Results A 5 month audit of 45 notes showed that the pathway is generally being used appropriately. 93% (27/29) service users were offered referral to a health advisor when indicated by the pathway and two were offered referral without any clear indication. This resulted in 29(64%) men seeing a health advisor for health promotion after completing their STI screen as 2 men declined. All patients received appropriate Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B testing, but 7(16%) were not tested for Hepatitis C when indicated by the pathway. 4(9%) men had an STI (Chlamydia or Gonnorhoea).
Discussion We believe this model can reduce clinic visit duration. This should increase accessibility and acceptability and also allow trained staff to manage more complex patients, while allowing for risk identification and health promotion among asymptomatic MSM who may also be at higher risk.
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