Sexual health must be a core part of the Government’s approach to prevention

23rd July 2019

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) respond to the release of the Government’s newly released Green Paper on Prevention: Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s.

The long-awaited Green Paper sets out the Government’s approach to embedding prevention-based approaches at the heart of national and local Government decision-making, with the aim of shifting the health system away from just treating illness, and towards preventing health problems in the first place.

Commenting on the publication of the Green Paper, Dr Olwen Williams, President of BASHH, said:

“Whilst we welcome the acknowledgement of the need to address growing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the reiteration of working to end HIV transmissions by 2030, it’s disappointing that sexual health appears to have been included as an afterthought within the Green Paper, particularly after the assurances given by the former Public Health Minister to the Health and Social Care Committee at the start of the year.

There is comparatively little within the document about how the Government will relieve the significant pressures on sexual health services, which are being caused as a direct consequence of the persistent and damaging cuts that have been applied to local authority public health budgets in recent years. In the context of the dramatic increases in syphilis and gonorrhoea diagnoses and the continued spread of antibiotic-resistant sexual infection, it is more important than ever to ensure that sexual health is prioritised and appropriately funded.

We therefore call upon the Government to fully commit to the development of a new national sexual health strategy, including providing greater clarity around how sexual health services should be co-commissioned within emerging NHS models of care, as recommended by the Health and Social Care Committee. Alongside this, it must also reverse its damaging policy of cutting public health funding, the consequences of which jeopardise access to vital services for those most in need.”

The full Prevention Green Paper is available online here:

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