The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) are delighted to launch the first ever UK-wide Standards for the management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in outreach settings, designed to support the highest quality of sexual health care for at risk and hard to reach groups.
These new standards are produced by BASHH in close partnership with a range of key voluntary sector organisations, professional associations and public health bodies and represent a significant development in the delivery of outreach services and provide important guidance for commissioners, providers and healthcare professionals working in the area.
Access to conventional HIV and sexually transmitted infections advice, testing and treatment can be difficult for minority groups who are often most at risk.
Outreach services are designed to break down barriers to testing and treatment by taking these closer to the communities at risk, such as sauna based-testing for men who have sex with men (MSM).
It is vital that that the testing and treatment within these services is of an equal quality as that within mainstream sexual health services, and that all outreach services are able to work closely and effectively with local specialist sexual health clinics.
These new standards have been designed to complement existing standards for clinical services and are applicable for:
- service providers
- healthcare professionals and non-registered healthcare workers working within outreach
- people accessing outreach services
The standards will be launched online following the BASHH Spring Conference (Oxford July 10th – 12th 2016), alongside a complimentary ‘user’s guide’ for providers and those accessing services.
BASHH will be distributing the standards to a wide variety of organisations and are encouraging others to support this process to help ensure that the standards are disseminated as widely as possible.
Commenting on the launch of the new outreach standards, Dr Elizabeth Carlin, BASHH President said:
I am delighted that BASHH, in conjunction with our partners, are launching the first UK guideline on the management of STIs in outreach services. These services are important in bringing healthcare closer to those in need - the guidelines are easy to use and will really help to optimise best practice and safer care.Dr Elizabeth Carlin, BASHH President
Patient representative Antony Chuter commented:
I was delighted to be involved in both the original guidelines and now the outreach guidelines and the patient facing summary document.
Outreach is essential for many groups who really need the services of the sexual health teams, so many would not usually present themselves in a traditional sexual health clinic for many different reasons. So getting outreach into the right places to meet the demand is crucial.
It is fantastic that BASHH had the foresight to fund the outreach guide for patients, which I hope will be invaluable for all those who use it!Antony Chuter, Patient Representative