by Kate Ebbutt

The only remote sexual health testing provider built for public health with 15 years of experience and real-world results is now available to U.S. public health officials to stop the spread of STIs

Preventx announced today at the STI and HIV 2023 World Congress that it is opening a specialized lab in Cincinnati, Ohio to make its award-winning solutions available to U.S. public health departments to help control the rapidly increasing spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI) in their communities. To address critical gaps in existing testing strategies, Preventx enters the U.S. market with 15 years of experience and real-world results, testing more than half the population of England, and brings the convenience and accessibility of digital services along with the reliability and expertise of in-person clinical care.

With the recent increase in reported cases of STIs and public health budgetary constraints, the U.S. is on the verge of a public health crisis. According to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) surveillance data, more than 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in the U.S. in 2021 and all increased between 2020 and 2021. To reverse this trend, the CDC called for more groups to contribute to STI prevention and innovation efforts, with testing at the center of the prevention strategies. Additionally, through the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set an ambitious goal of reducing all new HIV infections in the U.S. by 90% by 2030.

“We have a serious problem in the U.S. with the recent increase in STI cases pushing us towards a public health emergency and we have a professional responsibility, to do everything we can to stop the spread,” said Barbara Van Der Pol, PhD, MPH, Preventx Laboratory Director. “The COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in STI-related prevention and care activities and brought the realities of our strained public health infrastructure to light. We also learned that remote testing is a viable strategy that gives people, no matter where they live, greater access to prevention methods and overall health care.”

Current approaches to testing, which often rely on in-person clinic visits, fall short if we don’t reach at-risk or underserved populations. The Preventx digital platform and remote testing approach allows public health decision makers to target hard-to-reach groups, including those uncomfortable visiting a clinic, those with scheduling difficulties, and those living far from a clinic. At the same time, by providing testing services to large numbers of people who do not need to be seen in clinic, capacity of health care providers is freed up, enabling them to attend to those with more complex needs, those for whom online testing is not an option, and those who prefer face-to-face care.

“Against a backdrop of decreased funding for STI prevention and the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system, U.S. public health officials are tasked with safeguarding the well-being of their communities, preventing and mitigating the spread of infections including STIs, ensuring equitable access to care, and all while containing costs,” said Dr. Stephen Jordan, US Medical Director, Preventx

“Public health budgets are being cut while pressures on Disease Intervention Specialists and other public health staff increase, so remote testing can give some relief to U.S. public health officials who must demonstrate the value of new solutions and be nimble enough to reach more people, including vulnerable, at-risk populations, but may not have the bandwidth or resources to unlock funding and see a viable path forward,” addedNick Malhomme, International Development Director, Preventx.

Through a digital hybrid STI testing model that involves online screening for eligibility, remote testing, and physical clinics working cohesively, Preventx is now the largest provider of remote sexual health testing across Europe dispatching 5.5 million STI testing kits through Preventx services and carrying out over 15 million tests by Preventx’s in-house lab. Preventx has seen an 80% average return rate on the remote test kits sent to people and 98.6% of service users would recommend Preventx to friends or family.

  • Preventx provides testing for Sexual Health London, the world’s largest publicly funded remote testing program, and has tested over 2 million Londoners in just over 3 years, with an unprecedented 82% return rate.
  • Preventx runs the UK National Hepatitis C program providing a free, discreet national web-based testing portal commissioned by National Health Services (NHS) England.
  • In East Sussex, a smaller city with both urban and rural areas, Preventx rolled out remote testing reaching people living in high deprivation areas (those most at risk for poor sexual health) as easily as reaching people living in better areas with greater accessibility.
  • Preventx’s Southern Europe hub is the leading private STI clinic in Spain, offering onsite testing, treatment and support from Madrid and Valencia, as well as remote testing and treatment across the country.
  • Preventx activities in Northern Europe are driven by the largest provider of STI remote self-sampling in the Benelux region.

“In this era of advancing technology and changing healthcare landscapes, the emergence of hybrid, digital and in-person, testing companies presents an opportunity to substantially enhance the public health value delivered to people,” said Ruth Poole, CEO of Preventx. “The results we’ve seen through our programs in Europe have been substantial STI testing volumes, STI treatment, prevention of STI spread, and user satisfaction. We are now in a position to bring these solutions, and the positive results, to public health officials in the U.S.”

At the 2023 STI and HIV World Congress, Preventx is seeking nominations for communities to receive free consulting to demonstrate how much remote testing and services can increase access and improve outcomes.


CDC, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2021

CDC, Media Statement: U.S. STI Epidemic Showed No Signs of Slowing in 2021 – Cases Continued to Escalate

CDC, EHE: Scaling Up HIV Prevention Services in STD Specialty Clinics

About the author:

Kate Ebbutt is the Head of Marketing and Communications for Preventx