Let’s Talk about SX

We’re delighted to announce the launch of SX  – A new project with the ambition to challenge the health inequalities facing gay and bisexual men living in Lothian.

SX is being delivered by us here at Waverley Care, in partnership with LGBT Health and funded by NHS Lothian.

SX will provide a one-stop-shop for men’s health needs including information and advice on sex and relationships, and access to regular STI testing, condoms and lubricant. In addition SX will provide one-to-one support, counselling and a helpline dealing with a range of issues including sexual and mental health, discrimination and other health and social inequalities.

The project builds on existing services across Lothian responding to research indicating that gay and bisexual men, and all men who have sex with men, are:

Speaking on behalf of SX ahead of the launch, Waverley Care Chief Executive, Grant Sugden said: “Scotland gets a lot of things right when it comes to LGBT issues but gay and bisexual men continue to face real health and social inequalities. SX is about bridging that gap.

Sexual health’s a big part of what we do, talking positively about sex and healthy relationships, and helping guys reduce the risk of STIs. But there’s more to being a gay or bisexual man than just sex.

Discrimination is still a big issue that puts many guys off looking for support. This can lead to issues around mental health and self-confidence that leave men open to making choices that may not be in the best interests of their health.

SX gives guys a place within the community where they can come to talk about anything they’ve got going on in their lives. We won’t preach or judge, it’s about listening, understanding and giving men the confidence to live life their way and live it well.”

Dr Duncan F. McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine of NHS Lothian added: “All of the evidence we have points to the continuing challenges facing gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, and tackling this remains a priority for the health board.

There are a number of existing quality Sexual Health and Reproductive Health services across Lothian where men who have sex with men can access confidential, convenient sexual health information and testing, even within their own community setting.

The work of SX will build on these existing services to provide a holistic approach that includes positive discussions around sexual health alongside mental health support and we are looking forward to working with the partners involved.”

To extend the reach of SX and maximise opportunities for community involvement with the initiative, trained volunteers will play a key role in the delivery of the service.

Chris Dalziel, a Volunteer for SX, said: “As a gay man living in Edinburgh I can’t say how proud I am to be part of a community project that will build and empower our community to take action and tackle the social and health inequalities we face. Services such as HIV tests where results are given in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea will make a huge difference to the lives of gay and bisexual men across the Lothian region.”

To find out more you can visit the SX website at www.s-x.scot and follow sxscotland on twitter and like the project on facebook/sxscotland.