Building a Better Health Service

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Gay Men's Health Service

Nurse Led Asymptomatic Screening Clinic, Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS), Baggot Street Hospital, Dublin

The Gay Men's Health Service set up an innovative Nurse led asymptomatic screening clinic to reduce the incidence of HIV in the MSM community and beyond.

How it works

In response to a dramatic increase in STI's among men who have sex with men (MSM) in 2016, the Gay Men's Health Service (GMHS) set up a new walk in clinic on a Monday afternoon 2pm to 4pm to increase testing among this population.

Unlike the other two evening clinics at GMHS, this clinic is nurse led and offers a rapid HIV test in addition to a full STI screen. Prior to setting up this service the GMHS was unable to cater for the number of patients who attended the walk in service on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening. This resulted in between 25 and 35 MSM potentially positive for STI's being invited to return to the next available clinic or seek help at another service. The delay in treatment had the potential to have significant public health implications.

The team

The Gay Men's Health Service is a community service funded by the HSE and works in collaboration with many statutory and voluntary organisations to reach its goal of serving the community. This successful project is a collaboration of the Gay Men's Health Service, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, Gay Health Network, Gay Switch Board Ireland, GMHS Outreach Programme and St. James's Hospital Infectious Disease Services and Microbiology and Serology Laboratories.

Impact of this project

This nurse led screening service has proved to be extremely cost effective not only in terms of the high quality of the clinical service delivered by Nurses but also the numbers of service users catered for. The high detection and treatment of STI's of 15% in this at risk group has ultimately reduced transmission and rate of spread as well as reducing ultimate cost to the HSE of untreated infections.

The measurement and results are a statement of the success of the service. The clinic has been in operation for 11 months now with over 1,000 attendees. This Asymptomatic screening service is a recipe that clearly works and could be very easily transferred to other settings within the community.