Lets talk about sex
Southend residents are being asked to give their views on how their sexual health needs could best be met, as the council reviews how it provides these services.
Sexual health services include the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy testing, contraception, emergency contraception and the provision of information and advice about sexual health. These are provided in a range of settings including GP surgeries, hospital and contraceptive and sexual health clinics, community pharmacies and educational establishments.
Sexual health services are important as they help to detect and treat STIs and provide people with free access to contraception. Last year in Southend there were over 1,200 newly diagnosed cases of STIs with the most common diagnosis being chlamydia, followed by genital warts, genital herpes, gonorrhoea and syphilis. The majority of these - over 50% - were in young people aged 15-24 years old.
The future of delivering services is also changing, with many services now offering STI testing online. This offers people, who are concerned that they may have an STI, the opportunity to take a test in their own home rather than accessing a clinic-based sexual health service. Many people are also using technology and reliable websites to find out information about local services and sexual health.
Cllr Lesley Salter, cabinet member for healthy communities and wellbeing, said: “Every year, thousands of people in Southend access sexual health services.
“Sexual health is a key part of our overall health, so keeping your sexual health in check is vital.
“Southend reflects a national trend in so far as infection rates for some STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea are rising and this places an extra demand on services. So it is vital that we ensure people protect themselves, can access information easily, get tested early and, if necessary, get treated as soon as possible.
“We are now reviewing how we provide these services and need to better understand the needs of local people, so that we match the services to them. We want to know how people find out about sexual health services, their experience of using the existing services, what works well and what could be improved. We’re also aware that some people don’t use the services and we want to know what puts them off.”
The consultation runs from Tuesday 7th August until Friday 21 September. You can take part in the following ways: