MORE than 500 home testing kits for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were sent out to Cheshire West residents in May despite the lockdown.

Northwich and Winsford residents can now be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from the comfort of their own home.

On behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Virgin Care is providing kits by post, which can be ordered online and check for infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphillis.

The service launched before the pandemic hit the UK but it is still in demand – with 518 kits being sent out to residents across the borough in May, even though it was the second full month of lockdown.

Beth Wellsbury, service manager for sexual health services in Cheshire West at Virgin Care, said: “While we advise people to socially distance and continue to follow government guidelines, we also realise that it is important that we are there for those who do need our help and treatment.”

Anyone wanting testing or treatment will be asked to carry out a telephone triage and consultation first to determine what help they need, before they can order the STI testing kits from the site.

They can then order the STI testing kits from the site.

Virgin Care was still running sexual health clinics in Northwich and Winsford earlier this year, but these had to close due to Covid-19, so the postal test and telephone service is helping residents who need support but cannot access it face-to-face.

Cllr Val Armstrong, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “Our integrated sexual health service, provided by Virgin Care, is encouraging testing during lockdown which will help to reduce further infection.

"I welcome the introduction of the online testing facility, which gives people the opportunity to get tested discretely and if required to receive timely treatment."

In January, the last month before the postal kits were launched and two months before lockdown, 524 people across the borough were tested for STIs at Virgin Care clinics in Cheshire West – just six more tests than were carried out by post in May.

Even if you have no symptoms but think you may have an infection, you can request a postal test by visiting