(Standing With You) COVID-19 Guidance: Provision of Sexual Services to the Community

20th March 2020

Standing With You

COVID-19 Guidance: Provision of Sexual Services to the Community

The British Association for Sexual Health (BASHH) has today issued draft guidance on the provision of sexual health services to the community during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This guidance (available to download below) has been informed through joint working with national reproductive health and HIV partner organisations.

This guidance reflects the unparalleled circumstances we are entering into and offers additional and extended options and strategies to services in their unstinting efforts to maintain access to the highest quality sexual and reproductive health and HIV care. Please note that this guidance is currently in draft format, with an updated version expected in the coming days.

BASHH, together with other national partners, recognise that exceptional circumstances will soon arise where critical national health priorities mean that the sexual health professional community is unable to provide current or very rarely, and temporarily, no, access to usual face to face care, and that elements of usual care may need to be temporarily suspended in response to local system pressures.

We call on all sexual health professionals to actively seek to minimise disruption to care and deploy all mitigations within their control. At all times we should ensure that our choices are sighted on achieving the best outcomes for the health and safety of our nation, while keeping the best interests of individuals at heart.

BASHH remain here to support and stand with you in the challenging days ahead.

Download draft COVID-19 Guidance here

Dr John McSorley
BASHH President

Many thanks also to all those who have freely shared advice and support regarding experiences in recent days. We would strongly encourage you to keep talking with local colleagues and your regional Clinical Governance Committee representatives (membership details here).
Please also feel free to get in touch with Dr John McSorley (john.mcsorley@nhs.net) and Dr Shalini Andrews (shaliniandrews@nhs.net)

There is currently considerable uncertainty surrounding the impact of COVID 19 on the demands placed on the whole healthcare system and the capacity of the workforce to meet these demands. Where services must reduce their capacity to the minimum level in order to support the NHS’s action on COVID, it would be recommended that the priority for STI care provision is a problem that is:

• life-threatening,
• potentially life-shortening,
• causing unbearable symptoms,
• presents a significant public health risk (e.g. acute symptomatic chlamydial infection, HIV sero-conversion illness or symptoms of gonorrhoea)

With respect to contraception provision in this scenario priority would be given to interventions aimed at reducing a significant risk of an unplanned pregnancy through the provision of:

• Emergency contraception
• Basic level of universal provision, e.g POP, condoms


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