Sexual Health Strategy

Sexual Health Strategy

Executive Summary

The 2019 – 2024 Sexual Health Strategy sets out Wandsworth Council’s priorities and approach to improving sexual health locally. Poor sexual health can negatively affect the health and wellbeing of individuals and impacts on society. The effects of this are widespread and, for those directly affected, can be compounded by stigma and fear.

Poor sexual health is often concentrated in vulnerable population groups, such as young people, men who have sex with men (MSM) and people from black and minority ethnic populations (BME), further marginalising these groups and perpetuating existing substantial health inequalities.

This strategy identifies actions to be taken to improve sexual health outcomes, reduce inequalities and promote good sexual health in Wandsworth. It focuses on actions related to prevention, awareness, inequalities and primary care commissioning.

This strategy was informed by a rapid Sexual Health Needs Assessment (SHNA) undertaken in 2018. This provided an overview of sexual health in Wandsworth and an outline of current sexual health services. Overall the sexual health needs of the Wandsworth population are significantly higher when compared to London and England. Wandsworth has significantly higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV(human immunodeficiency virus). The burden of sexual ill health is disproportionate across the population, with vulnerable groups experiencing worse sexual health outcomes. Young people and MSM are the largest groups diagnosed with a new STI, and STI diagnosis is increasing amongst MSM. Within BME groups, the black population experience a significantly higher proportion of STI diagnoses compared with the proportion of the population from ethnic groups.

Although the teenage pregnancy rate has reduced substantially in the last decade and is now similar to England and London, there are other boroughs with rates that are half that of Wandsworth.

From our engagement with young people, in summer 2018, as part of the development of this strategy, they reported that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) issues are not addressed; that relationships and sex education (RSE) is not consistent or developed to address issues, such as consent, and some young people are not aware of trusted sources of sexual health information.

Stakeholder engagement has been vital to the development of this strategy and the associated action plan. A broad range of partners were involved, during the summer of 2018, including public health, commissioners, children’s services, school nursing, Youth Council, service providers, and the voluntary sector. Through the workshops and surveys, the strategic priorities were agreed, and the associated actions were developed. The strategic priorities were based on the findings of the SHNA and are also in line with the National Framework for Sexual Health Improvement.

A public consultation was also carried out on the draft strategy in Autumn 2018.

 The five strateigic priorities are:

  • Priority 1: Promote healthy sexual behaviour and reduce risky behaviour
  • Priority 2: Reduce STI rates with targeted interventions for at-risk groups
  • Priority 3: Reduce unintended pregnancies
  • Priority 4: Continue to reduce under 18 conceptions
  • Priority 5: Work towards eliminating late diagnosis and onward transmission of HIV

Through the five priorities, the strategy aims to improve the sexual health of the whole population, but it has been designed to have the greatest impact on vulnerable population groups, who are disproportionately experiencing health inequalities.

To achieve this, an action plan has been developed, with seven high-level action areas to be taken forward over the next five years:

  • Ensure accessible sexual health services for all
  • Increase sexual health knowledge across the whole population
  • Improve partnership working across the sexual health system, including communication and understanding of everybody’s role
  • All professionals working within the sexual health system receive appropriate ongoing training
  • Increase sexual health knowledge among young people and improve understanding of sexual behaviour
  • Improve awareness of sexual health services amongst residents including young people and other vulnerable groups
  • Ensure accessible sexual health services that meet the needs of at-risk groups

The local Steering Committee on Sexual Health will hold responsibility and oversee the implementation of the strategy through the delivery of the action plan.

For detail please refer to pages 23 and 24 of the full report.

Read the full document: LBW Sexual Health Strategy 2019-2024

See the action plan: LBW Sexual Health Action Plan