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Sexual Health in the over ForTy-fives (SHIFT)

SHIFT – Sexual Health In the over ForTy-fives is part of the Interreg VA 2Seas programme and will run from 1 March 2019 to the 30 September 2022. The project has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund, has a budget of over €4 million, involving partners from the UK, the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

Project aims

SHIFT aims to empower individuals over 45 to participate in sexual health services and improve their sexual health and wellbeing.  In addition, a specifically tailored approach will be created to meet the needs of socio-economically disadvantaged groups across the 2Seas area.  The approach will seek to engage with individuals from these groups to gain insight and knowledge of their particular needs and potential gaps in existing services.  Through co-creation of service redesign, the current healthcare systems can be adapted to better meet the needs of underrepresented groups. 

Backround to the project

Studies in/beyond Europe (e.g. WHO’s Sexual Health Throughout Life) highlight the need for older people to have better access to sexual health support/care. These identify that older age groups are rarely a focus in European and national policies across the 2Seas area. The correlation is clear between this gap in services and the rise in Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) rates. The over-45s at risk are generally those entering new sexual relationships after a period of monogamy, often post-menopause (removing the issue of pregnancy, without thought to STIs).

Our engagement with relevant services suggests lack of knowledge/tools for health services approaching the issue and offering information/treatment. Within this target group, partner research has shown that groups with one or more socio-economic disadvantages (homeless people/sex workers/non-native language speakers/migrants) are at even greater risk of being unaware of their sexual health and unable to access the appropriate services.  This project focuses on generating the following outputs, that will be shared across and beyond the project partners, to the workforce of healthcare professionals and to the target group of the project. 

The SBS project will deliver:

  • Attitude survey in 45+ (detailed needs assessment)
  • Focus groups to discuss local outcomes, compare similarities and differences and decide how this will feed into the development of the model
  • Scoping literature review covering people aged 45+, with a particular focus on socio-economically disadvantaged groups
  • Mixed method evaluation of the model
  • Develop refined needs assessment of health care professionals and gap analysis through focus groups
  • Co-creation of a comprehensive training programme for professionals
  • Mixed method evaluation of the training programme for professionals

The University of Chichester is one of ten project partners. The organisations involved are:

Our contribution to the project

A team from the University of Chichester’s Institute of Sport are involved in running the evaluation of the SHIFT project:

Other research collaborators:

  • Dr Sue Churchill - Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology, Institute of Education, Health and Social Sciences

Need more information?

Follow us on Twitter @2SeasSHIFT 

Email the team at shiftproject@chi.ac.uk