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SHIFT Project Challenge: Studies in/beyond Europe (eg WHO’s Sexual Health Throughout Life) highlight the need for older people to have betteraccess to sexual health support/care. These identify that older age groups are rarely a focus in European & domestic policies across the 2Seas area. The correlation is clear between this gap in services & 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.

SHIFT Project Objective: The objective of the project is to empower people aged over 45 to participate in sexual health services & improve their sexual health & wellbeing, with an additional and specifically adapted focus on socio-economically disadvantaged groups across the 2Seas area. The empowerment will avoid assumption by using insight gathering & testing existing evidence. In co-creating a service redesign, the healthcare systems currently in place will be adapted to provide services that are properly suited to these groups. Consequently, SHIFT will improve awareness in the target groups and access to sexual health services, therefore increasing wellbeing, testing for STIs and HIV & avoidance of undiagnosed communicable STIs & HIV amongst the over 45s and socio-economically disadvantaged groups. This will lead to improving the quality of life of people aged over 45 (with specific focus on vulnerable groups) & a decrease in health inequalities.

SHIFT Project Partnership: The SHIFT Project Partnership includes Kent County Council, East Sussex County Council, Medway Council (all UK), and Kent Community Hospitals Trust (KCHFT) and Metro Charity (UK), SoSAIDS Charity (Netherlands), and University of Antwerp (Belgium) and Odisee University (Belgium).

Meet the team

Dr. Ian Tyndall,  

Dr. Antonina Pereira,

Tess Hartland,

Dr. Moitree Banerjee,

Dr. Susan Churchill,

Dr. Ruth Lowry,