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Sexual Health Improvement for Population and Patients HIT successes in 2018-19

7 May 2019

Dr Katy Turner, Dr Paddy Horner, Dr Jo Copping and Dr Emma Harding-Esch look back over the work of the Sexual Health Improvement for Population and Patients Health Integration Team during 2018-19.

The SHIP (Sexual Health Improvement Programme Health Integration Team) works to promote evidence-based sexual health improvement.

We are delighted to report that SHIP has gone from strength to strength this year. We have grown our membership, which now includes more than 60 people from Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset from a range of partners including local authority commissioners, Unity Sexual Health, Public Health England, Terence Higgins Trust, Brigstowe, the University of the West of England (UWE) and the University of Bristol.

Dr Katy Turner presented at a special HIT seminar at Bristol City Council in January along with three other HITs. The session received good feedback and offered an opportunity to engage commissioners, Bristol Public Health and the Council more generally in the work of the HITs.

This year, we have focused our attention on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and anti-microbial resistance (AMR), as this has been a major priority for UK government.

We welcomed around 50 experts to Bristol in September 2018 for a workshop on “Preparing sexual health services to meet the challenge of antimicrobial resistance”, co-hosted by BASHH. Following on from this we contributed written evidence to the UK Government Select Committee on Sexual Health. Paddy and Katy were invited to contribute as experts to an MP round table meeting in March 2019. We are delighted to be co-hosting a second workshop later this year with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM) STIs Research Interest Group (STIRIG) in London.

Innovative service improvements have been moving ahead at Unity Sexual Health Clinic. A new system to enable the offer of same day STI testing and diagnosis has been implemented for men will be rolled out for women shortly. This work has had evaluation support from NIHR CLAHRC West and is led by Dr Paddy Horner.

The CHOP study, led by Dr Jane Nicholls and Dr Lindsay Harryman, aims to explore the challenges and opportunities of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, a medicine for HIV negative people that, when taken as instructed, can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. Recruitment started in September 2018 and initial findings will be presented at conferences in the summer including BASHH, Birmingham and ISSTDR, Vancouver CA.

We have developed our relationships with other regional and national organisations with overlapping remits, including LSHTM's STIs Research Interest Group, the STI Research Foundation (STIRF), the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, and the HIV/STI Department at Public Health England.

We have also started to explore the possibility of Bristol signing up to be as Fast Track City for HIV.

Our HIT meeting in March 2019 was focused on domestic violence with speakers Jeremy Horwood (NIHR CLAHRC West) and Medina Johnson (IRISi), and we are working with them to achieve more effective recognition and response to intimate partner violence in sexual health services.

We wish Thara Raj well with her new portfolio in the local authority and wish to thank her for her fantastic contributions over the last year. We welcome Jo Copping, consultant in public health medicine, who joined the team in March 2019.

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