While Ireland had previously developed regional sexual health strategies and national strategies to address specific sexual health issues, this is the first time a coordinated approach has been developed at national level to address sexual health and wellbeing and to reduce negative sexual health outcomes. The Strategy will run from 2015-2020 and an Action Plan for 2015 and 2016 has been drafted to ensure that work starts immediately.
This Strategy’s vision is that everyone in Ireland experiences positive sexual health and wellbeing, and has access to high quality sexual health information, education and services. It takes a life course approach to sexual health which acknowledges the importance of developing healthy sexuality throughout childhood and adolescence and builds on that foundation for positive sexual health and wellbeing into adulthood and older age.
The three goals key goals of the strategy are:
To ensure that everyone has access to appropriate sexual health education and information;
To ensure that high quality sexual health services are available and affordable;
Ensure that good quality data is available to guide the service.
Key measures in the Strategy include:
The appointment of Dr Fiona Lyons as HSE National Clinical Lead for Sexual Health Services to ensure they are delivered to the highest clinical standards and that appropriate governance is in place;
Ensure that everyone who works with young people including parents, teachers and youth workers has access to proper training and back-up resources;
Raise awareness of the risk of unprotected sex and the importance of early testing and treatment;
An Action Plan has also been published comprising 18 key targets to be met before the end of 2016.
The full National Sexual Health Strategy 2015 – 2020 and Action Plan are available here.
Where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential, and where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone's responsibility.