Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Talking SHARP

Brook is currently funded by the Camelot Foundation (www.camelotfoundation.org.uk)to run a project called SHARP (sexual health advocacy and research project). The project aims to train and support young people to be researchers and advocated on sexual health issues that matter to them. After a residential event a group of young people have begun exploring issues with their peers. Their first piece of research focuses on sexual health services. Yet again their findings confirm that they want any services to be close enough to get to, open when they want them to be, and friendly towards young people. These don't seem like big asks, however if young people still feel it necessary to tell us this is what they want, then clearly we haven't got there yet.

So let us imagine as sexual health service providers we get this universal access right. Young people know where we are, trust us to be nice to them and can get to us easily. As we work to get this bit right, we also need to find creative ways of motivating young people to think about contraception before they have sex. Last week one young man involved inour work told us that it was the chance to get tested for STIs and free condoms that motivating him and it struck me we often focus on finding out about those who don't access services and that we need to invest a bit more resource in finding out more about the stories of those young people who do access services and do use contraception successfully, so we can learn about the motivators and barriers, and develop our strategies and approaches accordingly.

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