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Sexual Health

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1567W, on sexual health, which sexually transmitted disease clinics have (a) opened and (b) closed in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. (81439)

There are a number of different kinds of services that provide testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, which primary care trusts use to meet the needs of their population. Information on these services is not collected centrally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the ability of genito-urinary medicine clinics to cope with the possible additional demand for their services arising from the sexual health education campaign; and what representations she has received on this; (83035)

(2) what date she originally expected her Department to launch its latest sexual health education campaign; and when it will be launched.

In developing the campaign, the Department is consulting with stakeholders, and the possible impact of the campaign on the demand for sexual health services is being carefully considered.

The campaign planning process takes account of the fact that many areas will need time to make use of the major new investment, provided through the ‘Choosing Health’ White Paper, to improve capacity.

The campaign will particularly target 16 to 24-year-olds, the group at highest risk, and links closely to the joint Department and Department for Education and Skills media campaign that supports the teenage pregnancy strategy. It will initially focus on strong prevention messages to minimise the immediate pressure on services until such time as the number of new infections begins to stabilise or decline. Only then will the campaign start to signpost people to screening and treatment. And this will happen gradually through local mechanisms to help ensure clinics will be able to meet demand, as progress is made in modernising sexual health services through the chlamydia screening programme, improved access to genito-urinary medicine and reproductive health services.

The Department has not set a firm date for the campaign launch but current plans are being developed for later this year. We are committed to the most effective action possible and ensuring that we work closely with stakeholders. The overall aim of the campaign will be to drive greater personal responsibility for sexual health.