Spectrum Community Health CIC: Engaging with vulnerable people

Commercial sex workers – also called escorts – are a hard-to-reach group who are at risk of sexually transmitted infections, violent and unpredictable behaviour from clients, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and unplanned pregnancy – but may be reluctant to engage with mainstream services. Spectrum’s outreach coordinator Elaine Gallagher has worked to ensure they have better access to sexual health services in Wakefield.

She provides STI testing, health promotion, pregnancy testing and contraception advice for 30 escorts with whom she has built up trusting relationships. Where necessary, they are referred into clinical services. Elaine has actively sought out sex workers, visited them in a setting they feel comfortable within and is discreet, and has seen five of them move onto long-acting reversible contraception. She suggested another sex worker move into online sex during pregnancy, a safer option which still gave the woman an income. Elaine worked alone until recently when a support worker joined her.

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