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






Project budget

4 217 159

ERDF amount

2 530 295

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 got off to a flying start in 2019, with all partners engaging with genuine enthusiasm, and a higher than usual shared commitment to the common goals of the project. The quality of cross-border collaboration is noteworthy. All partners met four times during 2019 - for the Initiation Meeting, one further Steering Group, and two sets of cross-border meetings - in three of the four countries. Experience and good practice from all of them was shared. These visits have inspired everyone involved, and are leading to lots of positive thinking about the next steps.

    The first two WPs aim to create a Model (WP1) and a Strategy (WP2), in each case beginning with attitude surveys and focus groups. This work has progressed well, with participation targets exceeded. The meat of these WPs will follow in 2020 and beyond.

    WP3 (Training Programme) has yet to start in earnest (as planned), the main work having been the identification of relevant professionals - but PPs have taken the time they've had together, to think beyond the immediate, to the longer term, so are well prepared for their next steps.

    Evaluation - not a WP in its own right in SHIFT - is well-integrated, and PP6 is an integral part of all discussions, and a key co-ordinator alongside the Lead Partner and the Work Package leads.

    Communication has also begun well - partly of necessity, linked to WP1/2 work, but also as some partners are well connected and able to promote project activity.

    Partners have further noted the following, as their own highlights of the year:

    • Gaining insight into sexual health services in other countries, and feeling positive about one's own provision;
    • Positive bringing-together of providers and academics, which does not often otherwise happen;
    • The opportunity to work with other groups (eg more vulnerable ones) than the job normally affords;
    • The chance to speak to a wider, non-sexual health workforce about embedding sexual health in their work;
    • The ability to engage a young person to work on this theme and develop their competences;
    • Attendance at national events, and joining in with government initiatives




    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)