New STI medical centre opens

New STI medical centre opens

The Public Health Ministry has opened a new facility, Bang Rak Medical Centre Building, with the aim of providing one-stop sexual health services and becoming a full-service wellness centre.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and other senior officers attended the opening ceremony on Thursday. The building is part of Bang Rak Hospital complex on Sathon Road.

Mr Anutin said the hospital has provided sexual health services for more than 90 years. However, the new building and facility marks a transformation to one-stop services and paves the way towards a complete wellness centre in the future.

Health services available include counselling as well as testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Mr Anutin said public health records from 2020 showed the number of people diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease was at a ratio of 33.6 patients to 100,000 population. The most common diseases were found to be syphilis, gonorrhoea, non-gonococcal urethritis, chancroid, and lymphogranuloma venereum which is an ulcerative disease of the genital area.

The incidence of syphilis among youths aged 15-24 years old, moreover, surged from 11 patients per 100,000 people in 2015 to 50 patients last year, while the figure for gonorrhoea within the same age group stood at 58:100,000. The Public Health Ministry has set a target of reducing new syphilis cases to 1:100,000 and gonorrhoea infections to 3:100,000, he said.

Disease Control Department director-general, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, said the one-stop service centre will roll out Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to contain new HIV cases next month. The centre will also offer test-and-go services for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), self-sample Human Papillomavirus (HPV) testing, and advanced microbiology and molecular biology laboratories.

In 2023 the centre will add new services including: viral-load testing for hepatitis C; vaccination services against HPV, hepatitis A and herpes zoster; health check-ups for those travelling abroad or applying for a job; and general annual check-up services. The facility also will provide for medicines to be sent to patients via postal services.

STI prevention will be another key part of the facility, Dr Opas added.

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