It'll help local people and in particular some vulnerable groups to look after their sexual health and encourage more people to regularly test for HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Support will be offered for people living with HIV and for sex workers in the county, along with helping people to avoid unplanned pregnancies.
Sexual and reproductive health across the two areas has some key challenges. Teenage pregnancy in Peterborough remain worse than the national average while one in two people (49.5%) in Cambridge and 45% in Peterborough who are diagnosed with HIV are diagnosed late – both higher than the national average. A late diagnosis is classed as coming after damage to the immune system has already begun.
To tackle the high rates of late HIV diagnosis, the new service will increase the amount of testing available. This will be a confidential service which is easy to access.
We'll work closely with Change Grow Live (CGL) and the charity East to deliver some parts of the service. It'll also work with a range of partners, especially those working with young people and vulnerable groups to ensure that their needs are met.
The Sexual Ill Health Prevention Service works flexibly across the county and city but has bases at Mill House in Cambridge and CGL Aspire Substance Misuse Service in Peterborough. Like other services it has had to change its ways of working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with services being delivered in different ways including digital options alongside other measures to keep everyone safe from coronavirus.
Glenda Bonde, Service and Partnership Manager for Terrence Higgins Trust, said: 'Our brand new service, launched today, will provide vital information to improve knowledge and awareness of sexual health and contraception issues in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This includes working closely with partners and community groups, as well as providing workshops and sessions online and – when it’s safe to do so – in schools.
'We will also be doing testing for HIV and other STIs, as well as work to support the groups most affected by poor sexual health, including young people, gay and bisexual men and BAME communities. We’re committed to playing our part to ensure good sexual health is a right and reality for everyone.'
If you have any questions about HIV, you can call our free, confidential helpline THT Direct on 0808 802 1221.