New Project Aims to Improve The Health of Gay and Bisexual Men
A new project has been unveiled in Forth Valley which aims to challenge the health inequalities facing gay and bisexual men.
Delivered by Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity, the SX project will work to improve the sexual health and wellbeing of men living across Forth Valley
Funded by NHS Forth Valley, the project will work closely with the local community, recruiting volunteers to develop and deliver campaigns that promote good sexual health. The team will also offer one-to-one support to men in the community, including men who are living with HIV, addressing a range of challenges that impact on men’s health and wellbeing.
The project will complement the work of the Health Board’s Central Sexual Health service, promoting access to regular STI testing and free condoms, and offering training to professionals about the health and wellbeing needs of the community.
Across Scotland, gay and bisexual men face a range of health and social inequalities that affect their health and wellbeing. These include higher rates of poor sexual health, depression and anxiety, alcohol or drug dependency and discrimination based on sexuality.
Speaking at the launch, SX Manager, Alastair Rose said: “Scotland gets a lot of things right when it comes to LGBT issues but gay and bisexual men continue to face real health and social inequalities. SX is about bridging that gap.
“Sexual health’s a big part of what we do – talking positively about sex and healthy relationships, and helping guys reduce the risk of STIs. But there’s more to being a gay or bisexual man than just sex.
“Discrimination is still a big issue that puts many guys off looking for support. This can lead to issues around mental health and self-confidence that leave men open to making choices that may not be in the best interests of their health.
“SX gives guys a place within the community where they can come to talk about anything they’ve got going on in their lives. We won’t preach or judge, it’s about listening, understanding and giving men the confidence to live life their way.
“We’re excited to get started in Forth Valley and would encourage men who are interested in getting involved or accessing support to get in touch.”
NHS Forth Valley HIV Consultant, Dr Kirsty Abu-Rajab, added: “All of the evidence we have points to the continuing challenges facing gay and bisexual men, and tackling this remains a priority for the Health Board.
“Through Central Sexual Health we offer a range of services including confidential, convenient sexual health information and testing. Our partnership with SX will build on these services to provide support that is more directly tailored to the needs of local men.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about the project or access local services and support can contact Alastair Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 07703 840970.