Gay and Bisexual Men, often called MSM or Men who have Sex with Men, are, according to the Public Health Agency, the most at risk group of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections in Northern Ireland. In 2013 MSM accounted for:
- 57% of new HIV diagnoses (54 of 94 newly diagnosed infections)
- 46% of new male diagnoses of Gonorrhoea (157 of 380 newly diagnosed infections)
- 23% of new male diagnoses of Genital Herpes (30 of 130 newly diagnosed infections)
- 9% of new male diagnoses of Genital Warts (107 of 1173 newly diagnosed infections)
- 83% of new diagnoses of Syphilis (40 of 48 newly diagnosed infections)
- 12% of new male diagnoses of Chlamydia (109 of 930 newly diagnosed infections)
We have worked tirelessly to ensure that MSM have access to safer sex materials, information and testing. To find out more about Sexual Health click here. To find out more about getting a free safer sex pack click here.
There are a number of places MSM can access testing. Some of these are specifically for MSM and all MSM are encouraged to use these over other services.
Rapid HIV and Syphilis Testing
The Rainbow Project provides free Rapid HIV and Syphilis Testing across Northern Ireland. These are primarily based in Belfast LGBT Centre, Foyle LGBT Centre and Strabane and Lifford LGBT Centre. Rapid HIV and Syphilis testing is a 30-40 minute consultation with a trained member of staff from The Rainbow Project where you will take a finger prick blood test which checks for the antibodies of HIV and traces of the Syphilis Bacteria. You receive your results there and then. Tests have a 99.6% accuracy rate from 12 weeks after the concerning incident or encounter. Though testing within 12 weeks of an encounter you are worried about is fine you must come for a second test post 12 weeks to rule out an infection preventing.
Rapid Testing is done privately, confidentially and with ease. Our Staff Team consist of:
- James Copeland, Sexual Health Development Officer
- Malachai O’Hara, Health and Wellbeing Services Manager
- Gavin Boyd, Policy and Advocacy Manager
- John O’Doherty, Director
If you would like to book in you can contact us on 028 90319030 and ask to book in for a test or else you can click here to complete our online booking form and our Sexual Health Development Officer, James will email, text or call you back depending on your preference.
Sexual Health OUTreach Clinics
The Rainbow Project works closely with other providers to provide full sexual health screening in Satellite Clinics. These clinics are staffed by the Sexual Health Development Officer, James Copeland, and clinical staff from the provider in question. All tests are undertaken by a trained GUM Consultant, Doctor or Nurse. Confidentiality at these clinics is important. Should you decide to test at these or any other GUM clinic the fact that you attended and/or were diagnosed with an infection will never be recorded on your general medical records. Your confidentiality in accessing a GUM or Sexual Health service is protected under the Venereal Diseases Act of 1926.
At these clinics you will:
- Have a full sexual history taken
- Have a chance to ask any questions related to sexual health with a trained professional
- Have your Hepatitis A and B Vaccinations if you have not already had them or a booster should you need one
- Have a full blood sample taken intravenously from the crux of the arm
- Give a urine sample (you are asked not to urinate for at least 2 hours previous to testing)
- Have an oral swab taken (if you have indicated having oral sex)
- Give a self rectal swab sample (you will go to the toilet to do this if you have indicated being the receptive partner of anal sex)
- A full sexual health screen which covers:
- Chlamydia (including LGV)
- Hepatitis A/B/C
Below are a list of OUTreach Clinics and how they function:
|Foyle LGBT Centre||14.00-17.00||Full/Rapid||Drop-In|| Maeve/Colleen