Sexual health services in community pharmacy for women on opioid substitution treatment: a qualitative study

Laura Medina Perucha, Jenny Scott, Sarah Chapman, Julie Barnett, Charlotte Dack, Hannah Family

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BACKGROUND: Women on opioid substitution treatment (WOST) are at heightened risk for the sexual transmission of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses. This study aimed to explore the opportunities to promote their sexual health in community pharmacies in UK. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 WOST and 14 community pharmacists (CPs). A focus group was run with three CPs. Participants were recruited in drug services and a service for sex workers (WOST), and in CP. Data collection took place between October 2016 and September 2017. Data were analyzed using Framework Analysis and directed Content Analysis. RESULTS: CPs could play a role in promoting sexual health among WOST. Sexual health screening, treatment and condom supply were suggested as potential ways of delivering pharmacy-based sexual health services. These services should be actively offered to WOST, delivered in a private space and free of cost. We identified several challenges to overcome in order to design and implement sexual health services for WOST in community pharmacies. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the potentially key role CPs can have promoting sexual health and addressing health inequities among WOST. Improvements in pharmacists' training are required in order to address stigma towards WOST, and promote trust and positive rapport. Structural changes are also needed to broaden the services available for this group of women and improve their access to healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberckaa073
Pages (from-to)733-738
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Early online date8 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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