The first ever Sexual Health Promotion Strategy and Action Plan for Northern Ireland has been published.

in 2007 there were 65 new HIV diagnoses, the highest ever number in Northern Ireland. The trend to date in 2008 suggests a continuing increase.

In recent years there have been increasing numbers of sexually transmitted infections and high levels of teenage pregnancy in Northern Ireland.

The strategy includes commitments to respecting people, to sexual health public information campaigns, to appropriate training of healthcare staff, and identifies the problems of harassment, discrimination and homophobia.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of National AIDS Trust, said:

“We warmly welcome the publication of Northern Ireland’s first ever Sexual Health Promotion Strategy and Action Plan.

“This provides an important foundation on which to build for the future.

“The strategy identifies the particular sexual health needs of gay and bisexual men as a priority issue.

“HIV disproportionately affects gay men and some minority ethnic communities in Northern Ireland.

“We hope in coming years Northern Ireland health services and government departments will have the courage to go beyond the modest commitments of the strategy and unashamedly promote the health interests and human rights of gay men and migrant communities.”