by Kate Ebbutt

Preventx has spent more than 13 years as the leader in online sexual health and STI self-sampling services, having carried out over 3.5 million STI tests, improving public health and helping the public sector reduce costs. As we continue to grow, we are excited to bring in the clinical leadership that will enable us to support service users even more effectively, as well as enabling even more innovation and the delivery of new services for service users and our public sector partners.

The new clinical leadership team comprises Dr Vanesa Apea and Dr John White as medical directors, and Dr Anatole Menon-Johnson as medical advisor.

Speaking about these new appointments, Chief Executive Ruth Poole said, “These world-class clinicians will bring expertise and insight to Preventx as we continue to grow as an influential global leader in sexual health. This clinical expertise, along with our innovative technology, laboratory and logistics expertise will ensure we are in a position to build a truly global offer which will have enormous societal benefits as well as a successful, sustainable and confident organisation.”

Dr Vanessa Apea is a highly experienced sexual health clinician, researcher and speaker. Since 2011, Vanessa has been a consultant physician in Genito-urinary and HIV medicine at Barts Health NHS Trust, and clinical lead for five of those years. She is an Honorary Senior Lecturer and the deputy academic lead for equality, diversity and inclusion within Queen Mary University of London’s School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Vanessa is passionate about reducing inequalities in healthcare. She has made this a central focus of her clinical work and received an NHS 70 Windrush Award for her contribution to improving health equity. She has an established track record of exploring barriers to engagement in care in marginalised populations and has a particular research interest in participatory approaches and the intersection of race, gender and health.

She is a member of the London Fast-Track Cities Initiative stigma subgroup working to get London to zero HIV stigma. She is also the medical director of NAZ, a charity advocating for high quality sexual health and HIV support services for racially minoritised communities. Vanessa is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a Fulbright scholar with a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University.

In her new role at Preventx, Vanessa is looking forward to ensuring health information, data and digital health technology can reach all populations in a way that is meaningful from them.

Dr John White brings over 25 years’ clinical experience within sexual health, having been an NHS consultant in Genitourinary Medicine since 2004, including 13 years at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London. John is currently working in the Western and Northern Health & Social Care Trusts, Northern Ireland, a role he will maintain while also working for Preventx.

From 2009 to 2020, John was Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of STD & AIDS and has been a key opinion leader in this field for over a decade. He is a passionate educator and speaker and brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for clinical sexual health and HIV medicine. His major research and service developments have focussed on bacterial STIs and novel diagnostic approaches and this aligns well with the aspirations of Preventx. He is excited to be joining the team and looks forward to seeing current and future technologies being used most effectively and reaching those populations who need it the most.

Dr Anatole Menon-Johnson is a Harkness / Health Foundation Fellow and has nearly two decades of clinical expertise in sexual health. In 1994, Anatole was a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University when he decided to read medicine in response to witnessing the then untreatable HIV epidemic. This desire to apply science directly to the care of patients has inspired his career.

In addition to his work for Preventx, Anatole is a leading doctor at Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Department at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, where he delivers direct clinical care, teaches, carries out STI research and a decade of experience working with commissioners to develop SRH services. As the clinical director for the young person charity Brook, Anatole provides education and clinical services across the UK, where he delivers direct clinical care, supports the nurse led model and a digital first agenda. Anatole is also the director of SXT Health CIC, which helps people diagnosed with an STI to anonymously inform sexual partners about their risk of the infection and linkage to care for partners and other key ‘at risk’ patients.