Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru has published “Blueprint for the Future”, a bold vision for redesigning sexual health services in response to a huge 45% increase in the number of people living with HIV in Wales over the last two years(1) and the sharp rise in demand for sexual health services.
The charity believes that a comprehensive and collaborative overhaul of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care services is necessary to tackle the under-investment of recent years and to make it easier for people to look after their sexual health and bring rates of infections down.
The charity has produced the report to share its vision for how local health boards, NHS trusts and the Welsh Assembly Government might respond to this public health challenge and to promote collaboration between the NHS, local authorities and community organisations.
David Lynch, National Director, Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru said:
“It’s time for a new approach to reverse the deteriorating sexual health of the Welsh population. We need an approach that combines the expertise and skills of different organisations to meet the complex needs of people with HIV and those populations most vulnerable to HIV infection.
“With the backing of Welsh Assembly Government, we established the Wales HIV Network to promote collaborative responses across Wales and involve people with HIV in the process. We are hoping that the Blueprint is a useful contribution to all our partners in Wales with a responsibility for HIV and sexual health policy and service development.”
The charity’s Blueprint outlines a vision for modern sexual health services, which include:
Local and national Co-ordinated programmes of work to prevent STI and HIV infections
New walk-in rapid access community-based STI and HIV testing services
Community-based STI service networks with GU services as the specialist hub
The establishment of a “mixed economy” approach to HIV and STI care, involving GPs, hospital services and charities
A drive for self management to encourage people to take responsibility for their sexual health, by establishing new expert patient programmes
Dr Olwen Williams, Consultant in GU Medicine, Wrexham Maelor Hospital said:
“Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru’s timely Blueprint for the future development of sexual health and HIV services is to be welcomed as it puts into perspective some of the immense challenges we face in Wales at a time where demand is outstripping supply.
“New ways of working as described in this Blueprint are essential, if we are to meet the challenge of preventing sexual ill-health.”
The Blueprint will be launched at this year’s NHS Confederation Conference in Llandudno on 24/5th November, where the theme is radical changes, tough choices.