DoH prepares ground for adult sexual health drive

The Department of Health (DoH) is on the hunt for an agency to handle its latest adult sexual health campaign, due to launch next spring.

Agencies from the DoH roster are being invited to pitch for the contract, which will span three years. It is part of a £50m integrated marcoms campaign to tackle the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The campaign forms part of a wider £300m programme to modernise sexual health services in England, announced last year in the Government's 'Choosing Health' white paper.

'The campaign will focus on the risks of unprotected sex and the benefits of using condoms to prevent STIs or unwanted pregnancies,' said a DoH spokeswoman.

It will be the biggest adult sexual health campaign since the Aids awareness drive of the 1980s, 'Don't die of ignorance', according to the DoH. However, fees are undisclosed.

The campaign will target 16 to 34-year-olds, and focus on a core audience of 18 to 24-year-olds. It will draw on advertising, PR, and partnership marketing techniques. The DoH is using DLKW for advertising.

Harrison Cowley has handled the DoH's 'sex wise' campaign for nearly four years. However, the new brief will have a higher profile and different messaging, said a DoH spokeswoman.

A Health Select Committee report last year warned that Britain was facing a crisis in adult sexual health.

Over the past ten years there has been an overall increase in STI detection of 160 per cent. Rates of chlamydia (the most common STI) have increased by 215 per cent, gonorrhea by 112 per cent and syphilis by 1,435 per cent (syphilis was extremely rare in 1995),
according to sexual health charity and campaign partner Brook.

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