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July 14, 2023

Partnership Enhancement

Essex Sexual Health Services expand collaboration with Terrence Higgins Trust to better reach young adults
The providers of NHS-funded sexual health services across the county of Essex have expanded their partnership with leading HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, to better support young people under 25.
Provide Community, who lead a partnership of organisations delivering services across Essex, have announced the end of their current relationship with sexual health charity Brook, in favour of a greater role for the UK’s largest HIV and sexual and reproductive health charity.

“Terrence Higgins Trust are well respected and established charity that have been on the forefront in developing services and changing attitudes to sexual health and HIV. We are very excited by the greater role they are now playing in reaching more young people in Essex, bringing a refreshing and new approach to sexual health education, health promotion and engagement” says Kez Spelman, Director for Transformation, for Provide Community.

Brook currently delivers a counselling programme to young adults, training of professionals who support them and a sexual health programme within schools.
The new expanded relationship with Terence Higgins Trust will see this cease in favour of a more structured counselling service, enhanced training to a broader range of health and social care professionals and a targeted education programme in a variety of settings including schools, colleges and universities.
Established in 1982, the Terrence Higgins Trust was named after Terrence Higgins, one of the first people to die of an AIDS related illness in Britain and has gone on to be the largest charitable provider of sexual health services in Europe.

The charity, which already delivers services for the Essex Sexual Health Services, will now provide one-to-one counselling sessions with up to 100 vulnerable young people each year. This is hoped to increase to 150 recipients after 6-months.

Through a tailored training programme co-produced with Provide Community, Terrence Higgins Trust will also work with foster carers, social workers, carers, probation staff and substance misuse professionals to help them better support the sexual health and relationship challenges of the young people they work with.

The final element of the improved services will see the charity work in partnership with key stakeholders, including the Essex 0-19 pathway, to deliver targeted education programmes in settings including schools, colleges, universities and other venues associated with young people.

“We feel Terrence Higgins Trust have the experience and expertise to help us reach further than previous partners into the young adult community in Essex and help them stay safe and healthy.” adds Kez Spelman, Director for Transformation, for Provide Community.

Essex Sexual Health Service delivers NHS-funded sexual health services in the county which are provided by number of organisations including lead provider, Provide Community.
Through a network of NHS clinics, the service provides testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, including self-test kits, access to contraception and a wide range of support for other sexual health issues.

Terrence Higgins Trust deliver a wide range of sexual health services, including cutting edge educational programmes, alongside HIV testing, raising awareness, challenging stigma and supporting those living with or affected by HIV.

The enhanced partnership between the organisations identifies that involving local communities, and particularly disadvantaged populations, is central to both promoting overall wellbeing and reducing health inequalities, including those relating to HIV and sexual health.

Sexual health is influenced by complex social factors including health care access, social and cultural norms, stigma, educational levels, economic status, gender identity and sexuality.
The services being delivered by Terrence Higgins Trust will be fully embedded into existing care pathways created by Essex Sexual Health Services, sexual health clinics and wider Essex health and social care networks.

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