Specialist nurses have teamed up with a Swansea gay rugby side to raise awareness of the benefits of early testing for sexually transmitted infections.
The nurses from Swansea Bay UHB’s sexual health service also provided advice, and guidance on medication.
It’s part of a European campaign to encourage partner organisations in health to promote sexual health testing to prevent and manage the diseases.
Joanne Hearne, sexual health lead nurse said: “The Swansea Vikings invited us along to one of their matches to offer sexual health screening to anybody who wanted testing.
“The advantage was that we could provide our testing services there and then.
“Information was given on how to access sexual health services in Swansea Bay and the free online testing service from Frisky Wales.
“We also provided important information on how to access post exposure prophylaxis and pre exposure prophylaxis medication if they have been exposed to risk or reducing any future risk of contracting HIV.
“We’ll analyse the tests back in the hospital and the players will receive the results within two weeks and treatment if needed.”
The Swansea Vikings Rugby Team is a gay and inclusive team that runs from Swansea Uplands R.F.C.
The team is affiliated to both the Welsh Rugby Union and International Gay Rugby.
Rhys Panniers of the Vikings said all team members welcomed the pitch-side service which Joanne and her team provided.
He said: “The sexual health mobile service was so easy and amazing, offering a free sexually transmitted infections check and giving great advice too.
“Sexual health isn’t a subject that many people feel open to talk about and some have anxiety about going to get checked as it’s the fear of the unknown.
“I think if this service was more available it will promote more people to get checked and understand the different infections and diseases that we may be exposed too.
“It was amazing service.”
Joanne added: “Research shows the benefits of early diagnosis of HIV and commencement on treatment.
“Regular testing will support early diagnosis.
“Anyone who feels they may be at risk of contracting HIV are advised to contact the sexual health clinic.”
Karen Gronert, Head of Nursing Primary Care & Community Services, said: “It was great members of the sexual health team were given the opportunity to join the Vikings game.
“They were very well received and were able to provide health promotion and sexual health screening.”
If anyone has any concerns or needs further information, then please contact the sexual health clinic for advice on 0300 555 0279.
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