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Table of Contents   
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 799-800
Responding to the sensitive issue of sexual health by improving awareness and sexual education


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication5-Oct-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Responding to the sensitive issue of sexual health by improving awareness and sexual education. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:799-800

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Responding to the sensitive issue of sexual health by improving awareness and sexual education. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 17];10:799-800. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/4/799/215887
Dear Editor,

Globally, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been identified as a major public health concern owing to its magnitude, universal distribution, reluctance from the patients' side to avail treatment due to the associated stigma, and numerous shortcomings of the health care delivery system.[1],[2] It is more common among people with poor genital hygiene or high risk behaviour Infact, in excess of 1 million people acquire sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every day, and some of them result in serious reproductive health consequences, such as infertility or mother-to-child transmission, which is way beyond the acute impact of the infection itself.[1] In addition, the problem is further complicated by the emergence of drug resistance, which poses a great challenge for the policy makers to contain the infection effectively.[1]

Moreover, the available trends and estimates clearly suggest that the rate of these infections is extremely high among adolescents and youth population groups.[2] However, the main reason for such infections is the lack of sexual education among the people, the taboo associated with them and limited efforts taken by the stakeholders to improve the existing scenario.[3] In addition, attributes like access to health care, poverty, substance use, illiteracy, lack of a comprehensive approach to sexual health education, socio-cultural barriers, gender inequalities, and social disadvantage also enhance the risk of acquiring these infections.[1],[2],[3]

It is very important to understand that sexual health education cannot be delivered or learnt from a single conversation. It is a compilation of lifetime experiences and knowledge to assist people to develop attitudes, beliefs, and values on their identity and relationships.[3]

The school-based sex education program is a cost-effective approach to promote these conversations that can significantly minimize the risk of adverse reproductive outcomes like unwanted pregnancy or STIs.[1],[3] These programs play a crucial role in developing personality, maintaining relationships, acquiring personal skills, improving awareness about sexual health, inculcating healthy sexual behavior practices, and empowering them with knowledge to take a decision or use contraceptive methods, which will eventually minimize the prevalence of STIs.[3] In addition, the approaches like spreading awareness through peer educators, or implementing community-developed and community-led programs have a higher chance of acceptance due to the relevance and socio-cultural appropriateness.[2]

To deal with the challenges of minimal exposure to information about sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, and human rights, an awareness program was started on different media channels (television, radio, online, social media) in Cambodia to reach the maximum number of people through a collaborative partnership between different international and national stakeholders.[4] The program not only entertains the people, but even educates viewers about different aspects of sexual and reproductive health. It also provides an option to the audience to ask questions and acquire desired information.[4] In addition, it empowers family members to discuss sensitive issues, such as sexual and reproductive health, relationships, family planning, and gender equality in a more open and friendly way.[4] Even though the program has been a great success in the last three years, and improved the outlook of different population groups towards sexual health, a lot more needs to be done, not only in the region, but also across the globe.[1],[2],[4]

To conclude, sexual health is a neglected issue among different sections of society, and it is not a feasible option to rely exclusively only on the health sector to minimize the prevalence of STIs. Moreover, there is a great need that each and every sector and concerned stakeholders should play their part in improving the existing global situation.

Acknowledgment

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)-Fact sheet N110; 2015. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 July 5].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Jespers V, Nöstlinger C, van de Wijgert J. Adolescent sexual health: Time to invest in a healthy future generation. Sex Transm Infect 2016;92:248-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Johnson K. Insights in public health: The current state of sexual health education in Hawai'i public schools. Hawaii J Med Public Health 2016;75:82-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
UNFPA Cambodian smash hit Love9 tackles taboo subject: sexual health; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/cambodian-smash-hit-love9-tackles-taboo-subject-sexual-health. [Last accessed on 2016 July 5].  Back to cited text no. 4
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.215887

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