The mission of the Sexual Health Improvement HIT is to transform services to improve sexual health for the people of Bristol and the South West.
The team tackles a range of local sexual health challenges, including increasing rates of HIV infection, higher than national average rates of Chlamydia, high teenage pregnancy rates in some disadvantaged communities and a rise in abortions amongst women over 25.
Using a cross-agency approach with experts drawn from the local NHS trusts, universities, council public health departments, social organisations and sexual health charities, the Sexual Health Improvement HIT puts evidence-based care at the heart of its strategy. This means assessing the population's sexual health needs; developing services, care pathways and new ways of working to meet those needs; and rigorously evaluating the results to deliver the health improvement that really matters to people.
The team is already making progress, gathering evidence about the underlying root causes of very late diagnosis of HIV infection. The team needs funding to take this work further and develop and implement an evidence-based policy for avoiding very late HIV diagnosis through more effective case detection in primary care. Early diagnosis improves outcomes for patients, prevents transmission of the infection to other people and saves NHS resources.
The Sexual Health Improvement HIT is also piloting a new approach to strengthen Chlamydia screening by improving partner notification. This should reduce the number of Chlamydia patients who get reinfected because their sexual partners have not been identified and treated. The new model uses a centralised service to proactively trace and contact partners and arrange for appropriate screening and treatment. The team plans to evaluate this model to see if it works better than other methods and could be used more widely.
View the 2015 video here