The Sexual Health Improvement Programme (SHIP) Health Integration Team (HIT) is working to improve the sexual health of people in the region and reduce sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Our team helps to develop evidence-based sexual health services. We support education events and patient and public involvement (PPI), develop new funding applications, share best practice across our network and maintain an overview of research to improve how services are developed and delivered.

Our members are from the University of Bristol, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Unity Sexual Health, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council and voluntary sector sexual health providers. We also work with several public contributors. See who’s involved.

The challenge

Sexual and reproductive health promotion and HIV prevention have improved greatly in the last 10 years. However, addressing continuing to improve sexual and reproductive health and HIV outcomes remains a priority.

Poor sexual and reproductive health and ongoing transmission rates of HIV have major impacts on physical health and wider wellbeing, and result in significant costs for health services and local authorities. There is a strong association between poor sexual and reproductive health and other risk behaviours, and by seeking to improve sexual and reproductive health and HIV outcomes, we can also improve people’s health overall.

Sexual and reproductive ill health is concentrated in vulnerable and marginalised communities. Strong links exist between deprivation and STIs, teenage conceptions and abortions. Women, men who have sex with men (MSM), trans community, young people, some minority ethnic groups, people involved in sex work, people with learning disabilities, homeless people, young people in care and care leavers are at increased risk. Some groups at higher risk of poor sexual health face stigma and discrimination, which can influence their ability to access services.

Improving sexual and reproductive health and HIV outcomes will address these major health inequalities.

Our objectives

  • Accelerate work to end new cases of HIV by 2030
  • Improve STI testing and partner notification, and reduce risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Strengthen Patient and Public Involvement in sexual health
  • Improve understanding of sexual health needs and inequalities
  • Increase the role of pharmacies in sexual health improvement
  • Improve response to domestic violence and sexual abuse
  • Strengthen our collaborative network and develop a national network

To achieve these objectives, by 2025 we aim to:

  1. Strengthen public involvement in both research and service design, to ensure that services meet the needs of people in our region.
  2. Deliver our Bristol Fast Track Cities ambition to end new HIV diagnosis by 2030 in line with the new HIV Action Plan for England 2022-25.
  3. Deliver our co-produced ‘Common Ambition Bristol’ initiative to tackle HIV health inequalities experienced by people of African and Caribbean heritage.

Get involved

If you are a sexual health provider, commissioner, public health professional, researcher or interested member of the public, and would like to come to future SHIP network meetings and find out about sexual health projects and activities in the region, please join the network.

Join the network

Contact Rachel Allbless or Heidi Andrews to be added to the mailing list.

[email protected]

Follow SHIP HIT on Twitter