Sexual Health Improvement (SHIP) HIT reflects on 2021-22

  • 1st April 2022

We were delighted that in July 2021 Jeremy Horwood Professor of Social Sciences and Health Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, joined the Directors team. Director Dr Paddy Horner retired in February 2022 – after nine years involvement he will be hugely missed.

Despite the challenges of the year, the HIT has delivered many successes:

Fast Track Cities

Stakeholders continued to collaborate on a Fast Track Cities priorities work plan across HIV testing, stigma and System Leadership. Each workstream is busy establishing connections and initiatives across the city. These have been informed by the recently published HIV Action Plan for England.

Common Ambition Bristol

This major three-year community project, funded by the Health Foundation and led by Brigstowe and African Voices Forum, is working in partnership with African and Caribbean heritage communities to increase HIV testing, decrease diagnosis and stigma. We recruited our Project Delivery Group of six community members and four sexual health professionals and recruited and trained our six community researchers. We conducted a review of the evidence which informed PDG decisions as to which interventions would be most relevant in Bristol. A community consultation gained feedback on the proposed interventions. At the time of writing, we are starting to roll out the interventions.

Hearts and Minds

We were successful in a bid to the Department of Health and Social Care for £37k to tackle healthcare HIV stigma: Hearts and Minds. This community-based arts project will find creative ways to shift any negative attitudes of healthcare staff and empower colleagues to challenge such beliefs in the workplace.

Online STI testing

Following research assessing online providers’ service compliance with national standards, including a study under SHIP Director supervision, BASHH alerted “the relevant regulatory and advisory bodies to the testing and treatment practices of some STI service providers which are inconsistent with national guidance”. This has led to work aimed at effecting long-term change in online STI provision to ensure appropriate patient care, with the goal of ensuring the creation and enforcement of regulation for UK-based providers.

Other activities

We brought together sexual health services for a workshop to understand how data can be used better to identify inequalities and inform service design. This event included general practice, Unity, Public Health England, University of Bristol, and Bristol City Council Public Health and BNSSG CCG. Work to address actions will continue into 2022/3.

We worked with the Drug and Alcohol HIT to deliver ‘HIV Awareness’ training to drug and alcohol treatment practitioners, which was extremely well received.