A three-month sexual health campaign, which encourages Derbyshire residents to look after their sexual health – and residents aged over 35 will be one group of people targeted with safer sex messages for the first time.
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust (DCHS NHS FT), who are responsible for providing integrated sexual health services including contraception advice, sexually transmitted infection (STI) & HIV testing and free condoms, are keen to ensure the safer sex message reaches all residents.
‘Jiggle, Wiggle’ targets residents in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and aims to promote safer sex and raise awareness of Derbyshire sexual health services, available to all people of all ages. The campaign launched on social media last week.
Rebecca Spencer, General Manager for ‘Your Sexual Health Matters’ said: “We want to make residents aware that sexual health services are not just for young people – they are for all people. We offer specialist services at 11 locations in Derbyshire, as well as through GP and pharmacy providers and an online service which allows residents to order a STI and HIV testing kit online and get it delivered”.
STIs are on the rise. New data for 2018 shows a 20% increase in cases of syphilis and a 22% increase in gonorrhoea, compared with 2016. “Although most STIs are diagnosed in people aged 15-24, STIs are not just prevalent in young people”, says Rebecca. “If you’re having sex, looking after your sexual health matters. We want to try and reduce the number of infections across all age groups”.
DCHS NHS FT is also providing under 35 year old residents with safer sex messages and information about STI tests. This is because despite achieving lower rates of STIs than other counties and cities in England, chlamydia screening for residents remains low in Derbyshire and there is a poor uptake of HIV testing, particularly with men. In 2017, in Derbyshire 50% of adults diagnosed with HIV were diagnosed at a late stage of infection. Reducing late HIV diagnosis and improved treatment for HIV means that those people who are diagnosed early can have a life expectancy similar to that of people who are HIV-free.¹
On top of the social media campaign, over 50 charities and support organisations across Derbyshire will receive information and free condoms to distribute to residents who might be at risk or vulnerable. For the first time, condoms will be distributed to food banks operating in the county after research revealed that some residents cannot afford condoms, leaving them vulnerable to STIs.