Thursday, 19 November 2009

Taking a Stand on Sexual Health

This is the title of a press release from the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, my local NHS hospital trust. It does not refer to the adoption of a policy position. It refers to the fact that the Trust is spending some of its money to have a stand at an "erotic exhibition". I can't quite think of the best way to describe the Erotica exhibition, though I suspect that the most honest way is to describe it as an exhibition devoted to different degrees of the pornography industry (though I expect that some of the exhibitors would deny this description). The offiicial descriptor is "consumer adult life style" show.

Let's try and apply some logic.

The BHR University Hospitals NHS Trust think it is a good use of their (public) funds to have a sexual health stand at this exhibition. In the words of their press release (my emphasis added): "The stand at Erotica is the first step to confront sexual health head-on, to move with the times and to go outside of the mainstream to find specific audiences". Therefore, they are recognising that "consumer adult life styles" carry a higher risk of infection with an STI and so provide a "specific audience" that needs to be targeted with services.

So why not discourage people from taking part in "consumer adult life styles"? Rather than helping to publicise them, using public funds?

Now one does find it difficult to take seriously a press release which squeezes "first step", "confront sexual health head-on" (oh, dear!) , "move with the times" and "go outside the mainstream" into one and the same sentence. If any readers wish to take on a challenge, perhaps they could try to do the same with a sentence in the comments box (nothing rude please!).

In the 2008-9 financial year, this NHS Hospitals Trust announced  a deficit of £23 million. One would have thought that their advertising budget would have been a key area to be targeted to achieve savings ....

No comments: