Background Lewisham in South East London, UK has high rates of sexually transmitted infection (STI), termination of pregnancy and teenage conception. Greater community provision of STI services has been proposed nationally to address the current sexual health crisis but concern has been expressed about their quality. Lewisham Community Sexual and Reproductive Health (S&RH) Department has been providing testing and treatment for uncomplicated STI since 2002.
Objective To explore the experiences of clients using a community STI service for testing and treatment.
Methods A qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews with 16 clients diagnosed with a STI and attending a South East London community STI service for treatment.
Results Three main themes emerged during the analysis. The environment in sexual health clinics is important in determining the degree of stigma experienced by these clients. Easy access to a STI service is an important factor in determining clients' choice of services. This local community STI service provided an acceptable and satisfactory service to these clients requiring uncomplicated STI treatment.
Conclusions This study demonstrates that a community STI service is acceptable to clients using a community S&RH service. More research is urgently needed to determine whether community STI treatment would be acceptable to client groups who do not currently use such a service.
- qualitative research
- sexually transmitted infection
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