To make the development and delivery of sexual health services more responsive to defined minority ethnic communities
Good sexual health is becoming an increasingly important public health issue. In 2003, more than 3,000 people in London were diagnosed as having HIV – the highest-ever level. Between 1996 and 2002, the number of cases of gonorrhoea diagnosed rose by 83 per cent, while identified cases of chlamydia increased by 132 per cent.
The incidence of sexually transmitted infections is particularly high in London's black and minority ethnic communities. We believe that access to sexual health services and effective preventive services does not adequately meet their needs.
The government has recognised the need to tackle the problem in, for example, its National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV and its White Paper, Choosing Health. But if services are to be truly responsive, it is vital that voluntary community organisations and statutory agencies work together to make services more accessible to London's communities.
Strategies must take into account cultural contexts, and recognise that within each minority ethnic community there is great diversity in terms of ethnicity, education, economic status and language. Service needs and sexual behaviour are therefore equally diverse.
- aim to make services more accessible and responsive to a defined minority ethnic community in London
- fully involve that community in their work
- link in with current statutory service provision
- involve joint working between community and statutory sectors