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Prevention

Why is this a priority?

Improving sexual health and wellbeing requires a holistic approach that takes into account the physical, mental, social and economic factors that all influence sexual behaviour. We know the importance of ensuring people have the information, knowledge, skills and accessible services that allow them to make healthy choices about their sexual lives. Alongside this the wider determinants of sexual behaviour need to be addressed including, positive mental wellbeing, drug and alcohol misuse, aspirations for the future and equality.

Public Health England makes the case for prioritising prevention in order to achieve a culture in which our residents can enjoy good sexual health and wellbeing:

  • Sexual relationships, although an intensely private matter, are a major component of the wellbeing of the whole adult population and of wider society
  • There is a strong association between poor sexual and reproductive health and other risk behaviours, and by seeking to improve sexual and reproductive health and HIV outcomes, these other determinants of health may also be identified and addressed
  • Poor sexual and reproductive health and ongoing spread of HIV have major impacts on population health, illness and wider wellbeing, and result in significant costs for health service and local authority budgets
  • Sexual and reproductive ill health is concentrated in many vulnerable and marginalised communities, and improving sexual and reproductive health and HIV outcomes will address these major health inequalities.

Throughout life, individuals need access to good quality information, advice and services delivered in an appropriate manner to maintain their sexual health and wellbeing. This includes not only sexual health specific information on contraception and sexually transmitted infections but on wider issues such as perimenopause, menopause and post-reproductive health, psychosexual health, emotional wellbeing, communication skills and managing relationships.

Relationships and sexual health are an important aspect of general wellbeing. We are committed to seeking opportunities to promote and integrate the benefits of healthy sexual relationships in wider wellbeing messages.

Outcomes

People have safe sexual health lives without the risk of adverse experiences, unplanned conception or sexually transmitted infection.

Potential indicators

  • Rate of new sexually transmitted infection diagnoses
  • Under 18s conception rate
  • Under 18s conception rate leading to abortion
  • Under 25s repeat abortions rate
  • Uptake of condom distribution scheme (C-card).

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