Preventx, a remote sexual health testing provider built specifically for public health, announced at the STI and HIV 2023 World Congress that it is opening a specialized lab in Cincinnati, Ohio to make 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, the company says.

Curbing the Rise in STI Cases

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

Further reading: Beyond Monkeypox: The Future of STI Testing

“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,” says 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.”

Preventx Testing Solution

The Preventx digital platform and remote testing approach allow 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, according to the company. 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,” says Stephen Jordan, MD, U.S. medical director, Preventx.

Preventx is now one of the largest providers 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, the company says. 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.

“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,” says 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.”

1 CDC, Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2021

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

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