Article Text

Download PDFPDF

The STI Foundation: STIF International
  1. Nick Theobald1,2
  1. 1STI Foundation, BASHH, Macclesfield, UK
  2. 2Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nick Theobald, STI Foundation, BASHH, 68 Chestergate, Macclesfield SK11 6DY, UK; nick{at}

Statistics from

The Sexually Transmitted Infection Foundation (STIF) programme, launched in 2002 in Birmingham, has developed into a nationally recognised sexual health training and assessment programme designed for nursing staff and non-specialist medical staff, from basic to advanced practice.1

The course was originally designed around the 2001 National Sexual Health Strategy and the need to increase the involvement of Primary Care teams in screening for STIs and the delivery of sexual health services in general. Designed on sound educational principles, the curriculum and course material are provided by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV to ensure that courses (delivered by local teams of health professionals) are standardised wherever they are run. Central STIF administration provides support for running the courses and materials that are updated annually.

The emphasis on small group workshops, interaction and role-play and looking at clinical presentations rather than an infection-specific approach has proved popular and extremely successful with 24 297 delegates having attended STIF Theory courses since 2002 at 144 different centres around the UK, including Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Orkney.

The format was revised in September 2010 to incorporate learning modules from the eHIVSTI web-based learning package2 that learners would be expected to study before attending the course. The 2 days were split into ‘STIF-CORE’ and ‘STIF-PLUS’ to reflect the content.

Interest in running STIF courses outside the UK began in 2006 in the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, followed by a course in Waterford 2 years later. Twenty-eight courses have run in Dublin so far, which is an impressive number. Elsewhere in Europe, a 1-day edited STIF course was run in Athens, Greece, in September 2013, and more recently a course ran in Malta alongside the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI) conference as two half-days to accommodate the local physicians' availability. The Ministry of Health there supported the costs of the course as well as the e-learning component for all the 48 local delegates, and we had the invaluable local input and assistance from Professor Pace and Dr Philip Carabot from the local GU service.

Other non-UK courses in Europe have been in Germany on behalf of the Ministry of Defence for service healthcare personnel. A course in Sitges, Spain, alongside the 2015 IUSTI conference is being investigated following the success of the Malta collaboration.

The first course to run in the Caribbean took place in 2012 in Trinidad, followed by Barbados in 2013 and more recently Tobago in 2014. We are actively discussing the options for STIF courses in both Australia and New Zealand at the moment. There is significant interest in the ‘STIF Competency’ framework as a follow-on from the theory course.

The STI Foundation is already a ‘household name’ in sexual health education in the UK, and the courses that have run outside the UK have been very well evaluated, suggesting that the portfolio has considerable relevance internationally.



  • Twitter Follow Nick Theobald at @Nick_Theobald

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.