There are approximately 500 Sexual Health Advisers employed in the United Kingdom at present (SSHA 2007). They are employed within genitourinary medicine services, in community sexual health advising services and within the national chlamydia screening programme. The majority (421) are nurses; others are from a range of backgrounds.
There has been no nationally recognised programme of preparation for the sexual health adviser role, nor registration and regulation by one professional body; some sexual health advisers remain unregulated.
The Government’s Sexual Health and HIV Strategy (2001) highlighted that Sexual Health Advisers are an important group “who have a pivotal role in partner management, information provision, and liaison between community sexual health provision and GUM services.” The strategy highlighted the need to better define the roles and responsibilities of health advisers, including the development of a health advising qualification. Health Advisers also have a key role in implementation of NICE guidance “One to one interventions to reduce the transmission of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and to reduce the rate of under 18 conceptions, especially among vulnerable and at risk groups.