In 2016 Welsh Government commissioned ‘A Review of Sexual Health in Wales’ which highlighted prisons as a place where peoples sexual health needs were unknown, whilst at the same time recognising that these individuals were potentially vulnerable.
Following this, Welsh Government commissioned a review into prison sexual health services. This found that each prison had sexual health services, but they differed in the way they were being delivered.
From this work, an Inaugural sexual health workshop was held in the interest of bringing together key clinicians working within sexual health services in prisons in Wales. The meeting was the first of its kind and featured presentations from clinicians from Cardiff and Vale Health board.
Efforts are being made to increase testing capacity for sexually transmitted infections within prisons in Wales. A pilot of self-testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea has been carried out across three of our prison sites: HMP Swansea, HMP Usk and HMP Prescoed. This work involves adapting the “Frisky Wales” test and post scheme for use in prisons. People in prison have limited or no access to the internet, so this pilot involved creating an analogue version of the platform, whilst still allowing people to access testing in a fast and minimally invasive manner. This work is on-going.
Dry Blood Spot Screening is a method of testing for infections using a finger prick for blood collection, rather than venous blood sampling. This method has been used in prisons as it is less invasive for the patient. The test was previously used to test for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C as part of the opt-out testing scheme for Welsh prisons. Following the review of sexual health services the test was extended to include Syphilis. This means that more people are able to access testing for Syphilis in prisons as part of their opt-out screen.