Cork's Sexual Health Centre launches Ireland's first community sexual health hub

In September 2020, the Sexual Health Centre launched a Sexual Health Hub to support young people accessing safe and accurate sexual health information.

Sexual Health Centre members of the sexual health center and youth work ireland cork hold a banner which says 'sexualhealthcentre.com'

The Sexual Health Centre Annual Report for 2019 highlighted a considerable rise in demand for services relating to sexual health, post-termination, crisis pregnancy, and LGBTQ+ information.

On September 29 2020, the Sexual Health Centre released their annual report which detailed a 1.5% increase in post-termination counselling sessions and a noticeable rise in STI-related queries. The Cork-based organisation have stated that these findings illustrate the importance of accessible sexual and reproductive health services.

Chairperson of the Sexual Health Centre Ciarán Lynch stated, “In 2019, we saw a rise in the number of people engaging with services for sexual health, post-termination, crisis pregnancy, HIV, sexuality and relationship advice. This has been a clear indicator of the community’s need for high quality, professional and inclusive services.”

The Centre introduced a range of initiatives across 2019, such as a peer-led LGBTQ+ sexual health advisory service. They also provided 120 support sessions for people living with HIV along with over 700 free rapid HIV tests, according to the Report. 

Enquiries regarding STI information increased by over 4,000, as the report further notes. The Centre’s Executive Director Dr Martin Davoren said, “A rise in STI-related queries is an indicator of the wider community’s evolving attitude to sexual health. This is a very welcome change as it shows that people are increasingly viewing their sexual health as an integral part of their overall health and life.”

As part of the Centre’s commitment to open sexual health awareness, the organisation launched Ireland’s first Sexual Health Hub in association with Youth Work Ireland Cork during September 2020. This latest initiative aims to support young people in accessing safe and accurate sexual health information. 

Chief Executive of Cork Education and Training Board Denis Leamy stated, “Cork ETB welcomes the opportunity to support this innovative programme. Facilitating the collaboration of organisations that support young people is crucial in providing the required support directly to the community at a local level. By working together these organisations ensure equitable access to supports.”

In advance of the launch, the Sexual Health Centre delivered workshops to young people at the Gurranabraher and Churchfield UBU youth project. One attendee shared, “I got to ask questions about rumours and stuff you hear about but are not sure if they are true. I know now where I can go to ask more questions or get help if I need to.”

Speaking about the organisation’s hopes for this initiative, Health Promotion Officer at the Sexual Health Centre Muire O’Farrell expressed, “This is the first of many Sexual Health Hubs popping up across Cork. Our goal is to work in partnership with organisations across the city and county, e.g. youth groups, resource centres, outreach workers etc., to bring sexual health to youth from Castletownbere to Charleville, Kinsale to Kanturk.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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