From 1 April 2013, the NHS will no longer be responsible for sexual health screening (including Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis) testing and treatment of standard cases.  This responsibility is shifting to Local Authorities, although the NHS will be responsible for HIV testing and treatment.  This split of duties is likely to lead to confusion with the possibility that in some areas patients will have to go to two different places with different appointment times in order to get a full range of tests.

This may mean that some patients think they have been screened for more things than they have, or some patients never getting round to going to the other service.  The NHS routinely only tests for these four STIs and does not test for herpes, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Trichomonas, and Gardnerella.

Some commentators are worried that private companies can win the Local Authority tenders to provide these services; in reality it is likely to be the existing service provider (most commonly a Foundation Trust hospital) that wins the tender. But worried commentators should note: private STD testing services are already here .  Better2Know has been providing confidential appointments since 2008 for the full range of STDs, with results available from the next day (depending on the test).  It could be argued that it is the NHS provision that is lacking, and certainly not providing what we know our patients want.

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