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A new innovative sexual health service is due to be launched in Southend on Thursday April 1.
The new provision will give residents access to a 24/7 digital service through which they can manage their sexual health. The online offer will include STI testing and treatment, as well as access to a range of different contraception.
The new service is being delivered by sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook, in partnership with SH:24, an award-winning supplier of digital sexual health and reproductive services.
In addition to the online provision, residents will also be able to see expert clinicians for face-to-face appointments at Brook’s Warrior House clinic on Southchurch Road, as well as in outreach at various locations throughout the borough.
Brook will also lead various sexual health promotion initiatives and HIV testing throughout Southend-on-Sea.
Brook has over 55 years’ experience delivering sexual health services for young people, and has had great success leading similar all-age digital initiatives in other parts of the country. Online sexual health services have been particularly vital in the past 12 months, ensuring people could still access contraception and STI testing and treatment throughout lockdown.
Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “An extensive local consultation in 2020 has been instrumental in informing a new local service. It’s essential that the council works with our external providers to allow people access to the sexual health and wellbeing services they need.
“Sexual health issues can also lead to, or contribute to, other health issues such as physical, social, mental, and emotional health, so it is vital that the appropriate services are in place for our residents.
“Brook has teamed up with SH:24 to enable Southend residents easier access to their services, also providing a digital service, which is an important feature for the service in the current climate.”
Louise Carrington, Brook’s Director of Operations, said: “It is so important that people have access to high quality sexual and reproductive health provision. By offering residents the choice of both online and face-to-face services, we are giving them the opportunity to manage their sexual health in whatever manner suits them best.
“Communities in other parts of the country have already seen the positive effects of our innovative model, and we are delighted that the people of Southend will now be able to benefit from our holistic, non-judgemental approach to sexual health and wellbeing.”
Dr. Gillian Holdsworth, SH:24’s managing director said: “SH:24 is really excited at working with Brook again – supporting their delivery of a high quality SRH service in Southend. SH:24 is the UK lead provider of online specialist sex and reproductive health services and we look forward to delivering a convenient and accessible service for the local community in partnership with Brook.”