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Celebrating sexual health for lifelong advantages

by Pragati Singh

Through youth and into elder age, sexual health is important for everyone. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) working definition of sexual health include both a positive and respectful view of sexuality and sexual interactions in addition to physical health.

Pleasure as a factor in the efficacy of therapies for sexual health

Let’s Talk Pleasure is the focus of this year’s World Sexual Health Day. When developing sexual health programmes, WHO, HRP, and partners presented a study on the necessity to take into account sexual pleasure as well as illness risk in February 2022.

The systematic review and meta-analysis revealed that increasing sexual pleasure can be a crucial success factor for raising awareness of sex and encouraging the adoption of safer sex practises like the use of condoms.

“Sexual health education and services have traditionally promoted safer sex practises by focusing on risk reduction and disease prevention, without acknowledging how safer sex can also promote intimacy, pleasure, consent, and well-being,” said Dr. Lianne Gonsalves, WHO/United Nations Special Programme HRP. “This research offers a straightforward message: Programs that more accurately represent the reasons people engage in sex, especially for pleasure, experience better health results

These findings, it is hoped, will inspire advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights to advance programmes that inform and prepare clients for joyful, safe sex.

Resources for the promotion of sexual health and well-being

Numerous concepts, such as sexual respect, sexual pleasure, sexual self-esteem, and self-determination in one’s sexual life, can be used to define sexual well-being. There are new interventions designed expressly to enhance sexual well-being.

A significant development is the inclusion of a sexual health chapter in the most recent version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is a first. The World Health Organization (WHO) is making it easier to diagnose and treat a wide range of sexual health-related disorders by offering the most recent evidence-based definitions. Countries started employing thischapter in january 2022.

In order to provide recommendations for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programmes that are suitable and safe for various groups of children and young people, WHO worked with partners, including HRP. This adds to the recommendations made by the UN on sexuality education in schools. These teaching and learning tools for the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social elements of sexuality emphasise that engaging in sexual activity and enjoying one another are both essential components of a normal, healthy lifestyle.

Another suggestion is that policymakers use short sexuality-related communication, a therapeutic strategy for behaviour change that requires a comprehensive and optimistic understanding of sexual health and sexuality, wherever it is practical.

Finally, to guarantee sufficient care, reliable, clear, and comparable sexual health-related data are required. In order to better assess people’s sexual practises, behaviours, and health consequences and to influence national programmes to promote sexual well-being, WHO and HRP are coordinating a worldwide study effort.

Addressing issues with sexual well-being and health

While spearheading initiatives to advance sexual well-being, WHO is aware that promoting sexual health also entails taking preventative measures. Numerous women, girls, and people who identify as having different genders continue to engage in violent and unconsensual sexual behaviour worldwide. Worldwide efforts to prevent and treat the effects of all types of sexual assault are supported by WHO and HRP.

WHO created new international policies to deal with STIs, including HIV, in order to eradicate infections that have an impact on sexual health. The WHO is now emphasising a research agenda for enhancing the execution of national STI programmes and building a roadmap for the development and launch of STI vaccines in order to address obstacles to obtaining universal access to essential STI/HIV services. This agenda supports WHO’s leadership in establishing the “Global STI Vaccine Roadmap” to direct research and development for novel STI vaccines as well as innovating point-of-care technologies for speedier and more precise diagnostic testing.

The core of what it means to be human

The total health and happiness of individuals, couples, and families, as well as the social and economic growth of societies, depend on good sexual health.

Pascale Allotey, Director of the WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research (SRH), including HRP, stated that understanding how these letters interact, both collectively and individually, is essential to advancing complete sexual and reproductive health and rights for everyone.

Also Read: WHO South-East Asia Region to accelerate progress for NCD prevention and control

“WHO acknowledges that having sex is a normal component of having a healthy life and close relationships, and is not just done for sexual reproduction. Every person’s ability to exercise their human rights regarding sexuality and wellbeing depends on our dedication to research, evidence, advice, and passionate advocacy of sexual health.

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