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Seafarers, sex and STIs

Seafarers are more likely to have paid for sex than the wider male population. In a recent survey in Merseyside, 48% had done so. Yet many know little about sexual health  - 81% were not aware of Chlamydia, 31% thought AIDS could be cured and 22% had not heard of gonorrhoea. (Campbell & Van Nooijen, 2003)

Sefton Health Improvement Support Service and Liverpool and Sefton Sexual Health Team are tackling this on behalf of South Sefton and Southport and Formby PCTs. They've developed an  easy-to-read booklet — Seafarer Sam — which has been translated into the seven most common dialects used by seafarers visiting Sefton: English, Tagalog (Filipino), Croatian, Mandarin, Russian, Polish and Romanian. It aims to provide basic safe sex information and to raise awareness of the transmission routes of STIs to the benefit of both seafarers, and Merseyside residents.

Jo McCullagh, Senior Health Promotion Specialist said, 'Seafarers require targeted safer sex information because they are globally mobile and are separated from home health services for long periods of time. Internationally, there has been limited access to multi-lingual sexual health promotion materials for this group, we hope that this resource is a first step in addressing this disparity.'

Simon Henning, Sexual Health Commissioner for Liverpool and Sefton noted 'Sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) are a global problem, targeted work with seafarers is necessary in order to raise awareness of risks associated with sexual encounters. This could help to limit the spread of sexual infections to and from other parts of the world'.

The resource was developed using an inter-sectoral partnership approach, drawing on the skills and expertise of a number of representatives and thirty Seafarers themselves. The latter comprised a diverse range of ages (22-52 years), residential localities (eight countries) and dialects (16 languages). It is planned to rollout this intervention to other seafaring communities within the UK and beyond, thus assisting safer sex practice and STI prevention on an international scale.

The leaflet can be downloaded as a PDF below. It is for adults only. For further information on this initiative, please contact Jo McCullagh, Senior Health Promotion Specialist on 0151 479 6550.

Reference: Seafarers, Scanias, Saunas and Sexual Health - Campbell & Van Nooijan, 2003, is based on interviews with 220 seafarers docking within Sefton. It discovered that a third had paid for sex during the previous 12 months, with 12% occurring locally in Merseyside.

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Page created on April 5th, 2004

Page updated on December 1st, 2009