A plan to cut the number of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies in Swindon will be discussed by councillors.
In terms of some STIs, notably syphilis, Swindon has a higher rate than statistically similar boroughs and cities.
Rates of teenage pregnancy are below the national average, but while the rate of HIV diagnoses in the borough is below England’s as a whole the town is close to being deemed a “high-prevalence” area.
This picture is taken from Swindon Borough Council’s new draft sexual and reproductive health strategy for the next three years, which will be presented to members of the borough’s health and wellbeing board next week.
The key strategic priorities of the plan are to: “Improve relationship and sex education, reduce unplanned pregnancies and under 18 conceptions, reduce STI rates with targeted interventions for at-risk groups and reduce HIV prevalence and late diagnosis.”
To reduce unplanned and teenage pregnancies the council will: “Ensure high-quality information and easy access to all methods of contraception including long-acting methods, emergency contraception, vasectomy and reproductive health advice to enable young people and adults to make informed decisions.”
To improve sex education, public health staff will “ensure children, young people, and people with learning disabilities, autism or neurodiversity know where they can go locally to talk confidentially about sexual health and related issues and consider how to improve the engagement of parents and carers in RSHE in order to improve sexual health outcomes.”
To cut the rate of STI’s and HIV in Swindon, among a range of measures, the council will: “Strengthen health promotion campaigns in different settings and ensure people who are at increased risk of STIs are motivated to practice safer sex, including the use of condoms, and develop a revised approach for improving the chlamydia detection and screening rates of young women living in areas of high deprivation.
It will: “Explore how outreach provision can be expanded to ensure that sexual and reproductive health needs of the local population are addressed particularly among vulnerable populations such as on-street sex workers and those with substance misuse needs.”
With specific reference to HIV the council will: “Increase PrEP awareness in groups at high risk of HIV through community engagement and targeted social marketing campaigns and strengthen and support self-testing services, particularly in groups at high risk of acquiring HIV and review and improve local HIV contact tracing and partner notification pathways to reduce the risk of late HIV diagnosis and onward transmission.”
The board, made up of councillors, staff from the health and emergency services, charities and patients’ advocacy groups will meet on Tuesday, September 26 at 2.30pm at the council offices in Euclid Street.