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Research and evidence

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Links to sexual health evidence, research and data produced by NHS Health Scotland.

Sexual health

Outcomes framework and supporting evidence for the pregnancy and parenthood in young people strategy in Scotland (2016) This outcomes framework was produced as part of the development of the pregnancy and parenthood in young people strategy. The outcomes framework comprises of a strategic logic model and four detailed logic models corresponding to each of the strategic model's four strands. The background to the work and the components of the outcomes framework, including the evidence and plausible theory to support the detailed models are presented here.

Sexual Health Improvement Interventions in Scotland - Mapping Exercise (2011) This new report presents the findings from a mapping exercise of approaches to sexual health improvement across Scotland. Mapping of provision was conducted across three levels - Tier 1 (national programmes on parenting, early years and young people), Tier 2 (local programmes and interventions), and Tier 3 (detailed information on projects which target populations of concern). The report is intended to inform both practitioners and commissioners of sexual health improvement interventions to encourage effective targeting, regional collaboration and most importantly consistent delivery and evaluation.

Sex and relationship education for looked after and accommodated young people (2010) A short briefing on the needs of looked after and accommodated children and young people around sex and relationships is being disseminated to help commissioners and practitioners explore how their services and practice might better respond to the needs of these young people.

An overview of the effectiveness of sexual health improvement interventions (2010) This report was commissioned through the Research Advisory Group of NSHHAC to provide an overview of review-level evidence currently available on sexual health interventions. The research approach was a review of systematic reviews, and existing review of reviews, which enabled the project to take in a broad scope in terms of population groups, intervention approaches and settings.

Sexual health literature review: evidence briefings (2010) Three briefing papers with summary evidence tables are also available for children and young people, adult populations, and service delivery.

A Review of Sex and Relationship Activities and Resources in Primary Schools in Scotland (2010): This study was commissioned by NHS Health Scotland to review the approaches, activities and resources currently in use to support the delivery of sex and relationship education (SRE) in primary schools in Scotland. Read the Full Report.

Sex and Relationship Education in Scottish Secondary Schools (2008): a report produced through a collaboration between NHS Health Scotland, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Leicester.

The Sexual Wellbeing of Young Black and Minority Ethnic People (2008): a briefing paper that highlights the views of young people from black and minority ethnic communities towards sexual health.

The Sexual Needs of Young People with Learning Disabilities (2008): a briefing paper highlighting the views of young people with learning disabilities towards sexual health.

Sexual health and relationships - A Review of Resources for people with learning disabilities (2008): a report that provides professionals with information on resources to help young people with learning disabilities acquire accurate information on relationships and behaviour.

Promoting positive sexual health messages in the workplace (2009): a research study on employees and employers attitudes towards sexual health in the workplace.

Sexual health evidence on vulnerable populations (2009): a report published by NHS Health Scotland in collaboration with the Medical Research Council.

Healthy respect

Evaluation of Healthy Respect Phase Two: Final Report (2010): Healthy Respect was set up to identify how to meet some of the sexual health challenges faced by young people. It consisted of two phases, HR1 (2001-2004) and HR2 (2005 to 2008). This final report provides findings from the evaluation of Phase Two.

Healthy Respect Dissemination Programme (2010): This report summarises the activities undertaken as part of the Healthy Respect programme over the last two years.

Evaluation of Healthy Respect Phase Two (2008): This interim report outlines the development and delivery of the project and provides early findings from its evaluation.

Promoting a healthy respect - what does the evidence support? (2006): The research behind Phase Two of the Healthy Respect Demonstration Project. It presents the key findings from academic research and from the evaluation of HR1 relating to teenage pregnancy and STIs.

Healthy Respect Independent Evaluation March 2005 (Executive Summary) The executive summary assesses the effectiveness of HR1 from 2001-2004.


A report on a study exploring non-attendance at specialist clinical HIV services in Scotland: In contributing to Action 6 of the HIV Action Plan, NHS Health Scotland commissioned a qualitative research project by the TASC Agency which aimed to engage with specialist HIV professionals and with people living with HIV who are not attending these services to find out what barriers and issues impact upon engagement in order to better understand how services might be developed for this distinct patient group. While in the minority among people with HIV in Scotland, such individuals highlighted a number of barriers and opportunities which services might consider in future planning and liaison with the voluntary sector. A full report, along with a shorter research summary and a briefing note are now available.

The Scottish briefing in NICEPHG 33; increasing the uptake of HIV testing to reduce undiagnosed infection and prevent transmission among black African communities living in England: This Scottish briefing looks at strategies to increase the uptake of HIV testing to reduce undiagnosed infections and prevent transmission among black Africans who are, or have been, sexually active (NICE public health guidance 33; Scottish Briefing date September 2011).

HIV Wake-Up Campaign Evaluation - February 2011: This evaluation details research which was undertaken pre and post-campaign to evaluate the cut through of the HIV Wake Up message with MSM (men who have sex with men) and non-HIV specialist Health Professionals (HP), and to determine if it had impacted on awareness of HIV, attitudes towards testing, prevention and safer sex. The research used a targeted online survey of MSM, promoted through a range of MSM-related websites, and an online survey of health professionals. NHS Health Scotland have used these findings to continue to inform the ongoing development of the HIV Wake-Up website having been successful in bidding for an extension in 2011/12.

Research with men and professionals to produce the HIV Wake Up resources The findings from the research carried out to develop these resources clearly demonstrated a need for up-to-date, personally relevant but non threatening messages and resources that are available widely in locations that may be used by men who have sex with men, regardless of their relationship status or location. In addition, men wanted to be able to access information remotely or locally as many were not near to HIV specialist services. Many professionals not working directly in HIV services expressed a wish for more information on risk indicators, tips on how to engage with men and how to refer onwards for specialist support as appropriate.

Findings from Local HIV Wake up pilot in NHS Borders:

In 2010/11, we made small funds available to NHS boards to boost focus and learning on how HIV Wake up could be strengthened, especially in remote and rural communities in Scotland. Two reports on the first of these small scale projects are now available on the NHS Borders website (external link).They focus on a local needs assessment of men who have sex with men and a qualitative study on experiences of stigma among LGBT people

Updated 14 July 2016

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