56 Dean Street, opened in 2009, is Europe’s busiest sexual health centre. 11,000 patients use its services each month, 7,000 of whom are gay men. Part of its success is in its pioneering design. Unlike the ‘Cinderella’ sexual health services of the past, shoved away at the back of the hospital near the chapel, the Dean Street clinic resembles a boutique hotel: sparkling, light-filled and modern. But, as many of us on the gay scene will know, however good something might look means little without a supporting personality.
Leigh Chislett is the clinic manager who leads a hardworking, friendly staff, many of them LGBT themselves. Joe Phillips is his second-in-command. “At 56 Dean Street we’re proud to provide sexual health and HIV care to the gay community,” says Joe. “All our staff, including those that don’t identify as being part of the community, try to go the extra mile to care for and support the people we see.”
These extra miles include outreach services, like instant HIV testing in the basement of G-A-Y, or offering hepatitis vaccinations at Ku Bar. And specialist weekly clinics like CODE and CliniQ: the first devoted to helping men struggling with chemsex in the capital, and the second only sexual health service specifically for transgender people in the UK.
There are exciting future developments at Dean Street, including the launch of a new PrEP clinic to make the HIV prevention drug available to the gay community at a close to cost price.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We decided to award 56 Dean Street the Community Award before the data leak which occurred in September. They provide innovative services which are pivotal to the health of gay people in central London and indeed, with their ‘wellbeing programme’, are at the forefront of dealing with the significant drugs problem in gay London. We believe they save lives on a daily basis and because of this still deserve this award.
You can read more about Dean Street and the other winners from the Attitude Awards in association with Virgin Holidays in our new issue, available to download tonight at 11pm from attitudedigital.co.uk and in shops tomorrow (Wednesday 15).