Sexual health in the Over Forty-Fives | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Sexual health in the Over Forty-Fives

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Social Innovation

Lead partner

The Health and Europe Centre


Start Date


End Date


Project budget

3 597 012

ERDF amount

2 158 207

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    Studies in/beyond Europe (eg WHO’s Sexual Health Throughout Life) highlight the need for older people to have better access to sexual health support/care. These identify that older age groups are rarely a focus in European & domestic policies across the 2Seas area. The correlation is clear between this gap in services & the rise in Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) rates. The over-45s at risk are generally those entering new sexual relationships after a period of monogamy, often post-menopause (removing the issue of pregnancy, without thought to STIs). Our engagement with relevant services suggests lack of knowledge/tools for health services approaching the issue and offering information/treatment. Within this target group, partner research has shown that groups with one or more socio-economic disadvantages (homeless people/sex workers/non-native language speakers/migrants) are at even greater risk of being unaware of their sexual health and unable to access the appropriate services

    Main Achievements

    SHIFT partners began 2020 in high spirits, after higher than expected engagement from potential target group members than anticipated in late 2019. Steps were taken, notably at meetings in February, to move forward with the Focus Group phase. Unfortunately, COVID hit soon after, and UK and NL partners were almost entirely diverted onto COVID related work, which has been the case much of the time since, and is again at the time of writing. This dramatically impacted the delivery of WPs 1 and 2, although in the summer and autumn, contingencies to approach the work differently led to renewed successes in engaging with people. WP3 was able to advance up to a point, as it is led by academic partners in Belgium - but input from UK/NL partners could not always be gathered. Evaluation and Communication continue to do well as far as circumstances permit - and a combination of the two led to UK and international media attention to the issue of Sexual Health in the over-45s towards the end of 2020, a considerable success! The project gained airtime on television (including CNN internationally) as well as in the Daily Mail and other UK newspapers/their websites, and top US political website The Hill. This level of international coverage is rare for a project on this theme, and is part of the reason we wanted to run SHIFT, to raise awareness and have people take relevant action.

    Partners have further noted the following highlights of the year:

    • Rich survey responses, and numerous detailed follow-up interviews, including with homeless people
    • Increase coherence in the development of the WP1 Model and WP2 adaptations of it
    • Social media campaigns, with considerable interest
    • Live online event hosted by METRO with other partners participating
    • Continued great joint working between all partners



    Kent County Council

    Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

    Metro Charity

    East Sussex County Council

    University of Chichester

    Medway Council

    SOA AIDS Nederland

    Artesis Plantijn

    Odisee Hogeschool

    Sante Info Solidarite - Animation (SIS-Animation)