Sexual and Reproductive Health Special Interest Group

The Sexual and Reproductive Health SIG will provide a forum for Faculty of Public Health (FPH) members, establish an advocacy resource and identify and share good practice in this critical public health area. It will also coordinate FPH responses to government and professional consultations and develop the evidence-base for practitioners built on active horizon-scanning of key developments in the field. This SIG directly contributes to several themes of the FPH manifesto, and it will deliver its aims through:

  • A clear business plan based on FPH and sexual health colleagues’ priorities, the evidence and expert testimony
  • Identifying the most important sexual and reproductive health issues for the UK, the needs of FPH members, the impact of inequalities, examples of good practice and the best ways to share them
  • Providing an expert resource for members, informing the annual conference, raising the profile of these issues through existing networks (if necessary, developing new ones), and agreeing the most effective FPH products including advocacy, research, and training
  • Process outputs which will include an annual report of activity to the FPH Board and regular briefings for members.

A copy of the SIG's workplan for 2021/22 can be found here.

The SIG is co-chaired by Natalie Daley: natalie.daley@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk and Rachel McCarthy: rachael.mccarthy1@nhs.net.  

Regulation of online STI testing

The SIG has been working with the Bacterial SIG at the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) to tackle the issue of unregulated online sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and inappropriate treatment. Demand for accessible STI testing services has increased, alongside advances in molecular diagnostic testing. As a result, there are now a large number of online and private providers in the UK offering STI testing and treatment. Unfortunately, the quality of these services varies significantly. People who access these services may receive the incorrect advice; be tested for organisms of questionable significance; be tested when this is not indicated; and/or be asked for inappropriate specimens to test for particular infections. Furthermore, not all online providers offer first line treatment that is in line with national clinical guidance and tests may be insufficiently validated and have poor sensitivity and specificity. Such practice is not only a public health risk, contributing to rising antimicrobial resistance, but is morally wrong and can result in considerable financial cost to the public.

To raise awareness of and gain support for action on this issue BASHH has authored a letter, which has been co-signed by the Faculty of Public Health, to the Chief Medical Officers of the UK nations and England’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer; BASHH has also produced a position statement which you can view on their website.

Useful Resources

If you would like further information relating to sexual and reproductive health, please see the links below: 

Documents produced by the SIG
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