Free condoms will be handed out to the over 60s in a bid to tackle a spike in STI rates among sexually active pensioners in Derbyshire.
Jiggle, Wiggle- the first NHS sexual health campaign to target ‘the older demographic’- will see free contraception given out at GP surgeries, community venues and food banks.
The campaign, from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, aims to promote safer sex and raise awareness of the county’s sexual health services for residents over 35.
Rebecca Spencer, general manager for Your Sexual Health Matters, said: “We want to make residents aware that sexual health services are not just for young people – they are for all people.
“We offer specialist services at 11 locations in Derbyshire, as well as through GP and pharmacy providers and an online service which allows residents to order a STI and HIV testing kit online and get it delivered.”
STI rates are on the rise, with dating apps such as Tinder as well as increasing divorce rates thought to be fuelling the increase.
New data for 2018 shows a 20 per cent increase in cases of syphilis and a 22 per cent increase in gonorrhoea, compared with 2016.
“Although most STIs are diagnosed in people aged 15-24, STIs are not just prevalent in young people,” added Rebecca.
“If you’re having sex, looking after your sexual health matters. Our aim is to reduce the number of infections across all age groups.”
The Trust is also providing residents under 35 with safer sex messages and information about STI tests.
This is because despite achieving lower rates of STIs than other counties and cities in England, chlamydia screening for residents remains low in Derbyshire and there is a poor uptake of HIV testing, particularly with men.
In 2017, 50 per cent of adults diagnosed with HIV were diagnosed at a late stage of infection. Reducing late HIV diagnosis and improved treatment for HIV means that those people who are diagnosed early can have a life expectancy similar to that of people who are HIV-free.
On top of the social media campaign, more than 50 charities and support organisations across Derbyshire will receive information and free condoms to distribute to residents who might be at risk or vulnerable.
For the first time, condoms will be distributed to food banks operating in the county after research revealed that some residents cannot afford condoms, leaving them vulnerable to STIs.
To find out more information about the campaign, please visit: https://www.yoursexualhealthmatters.org.uk/