First outreach sexual health initiative for homeless community

The Western Trust Sexual Health Team and the Homeless Transformation Team have joined together to deliver an outreach sexual health service for people in temporary accommodation and who are experiencing homelessness.

The first clinic will be take place on September 7, 2022 ahead of Sexual Health Week (September 12 to September 18, 2022).

The aim of the initiative is to promote sexual wellbeing and access to sexual healthcare which are often forgotten elements of healthcare, but nonetheless can significantly impact upon so much of an individual’s overall wellbeing.

Over the coming months the teams will be working in close partnership with The Welcome Organisation mobile health unit and multiple homeless service providers throughout the city.

Western Trust first outreach sexual health initiative for homeless community the North West pictured from left to right are: Cate Greer, Staff Nurse, Sexual Health Clinic; Michelle Doyle, Public Health Nurse for the Homeless; Susan Duncan, Welcome Centre, Street Outreach and Floating Support Manager; Dr John White, Consultant in Sexual Health; Clar Blakely, Staff Nurse Sexual Health Clinic and Lynn Devine, Staff Nurse, Sexual Health Clinic.

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Paula Devine, Acting Assistant Director of Primary & Community Care at the Western Trust said: “This is an excellent example of highly driven teams working collaboratively, to achieve enhanced healthcare accessibility for those in need of a specialist service, advice and support. This is both innovative and progressive, and I commend all those involved and wish them every success.”

Dr Melissa Perry, Consultant in Sexual Health at the Western Trust explained: “One of the main contributing factors to homelessness can be a breakdown in relationships; people may find themselves escaping an abusive partner or an abusive situation, should this be physical, emotional or sexual. Navigating daily life activities without the security of a permanent roof over your head is extremely challenging, navigating sex or sexual partnerships presents its own set of unique additional challenges, including the ability to access health services.”

“This new service will aim to minimise these challenges by providing sexual health care in a way that will allow easier and more acceptable access to testing for sexual transmitted infections, advice about infection prevention strategies and many other elements of sexual health care.”