Social Determinants of Sexual Health

By Rao, T. Sathyanarayana; Gopalakrishnan, Rajesh et al. | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, April-June 2012 | Go to article overview

Social Determinants of Sexual Health


Rao, T. Sathyanarayana, Gopalakrishnan, Rajesh, Kuruvilla, Anju, Jacob, K., Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: T. Sathyanarayana Rao, Rajesh. Gopalakrishnan, Anju. Kuruvilla, K. Jacob

Sexual health can be defined as 'a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. [sup][1] Many complex issues including sexual behavior and attitudes, societal and cultural factors, biological risk and genetic predisposition, mental and physical illness influence sexual health.

The limited data from India are from nonsystematic surveys and opinion polls, which explore a limited and superficial range of issues. [sup][2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] Social, cultural, economic, psychological, and genetic factors, which affect desire, attitude, behavior and practice are rarely investigated. The silence of the Indian culture on issues related to sexuality compound many issues including help seeking related to neurotic and anxiety disorders (e.g., Dhat syndrome), the HIV epidemic, reproductive tract infections, sexual violence, contraception, abortion services and female genital mutilation.

Despite the "Kama sutra", Indian society is extremely conservative about sex and is ambivalent about sex education in high schools. The barriers to sexual well-being include issues related to individual empowerment and choice, access to educational and clinical services, social stigma, discrimination and sexual violence. Even professional medical education does not transfer skill and confidence related to sexual health and sexual medicine. [sup][10],[11],[12],[13] The resultant vacuum is often exploited by "healers" who also propagate sexual misconceptions and misinformation. The cultural ambivalence and manifest conservatism result in a lack of political will to improve sex education in schools and formulate and implement policies related to sexual health.

Existing Policies, Plans and Practice

The National AIDS Control Program, with its focus on educating the general population about responsible sexual behavior, safer sex and condom use has had a significant impact. The reduction in the rate of HIV transmission in the country suggests success. [sup][14] The extensive treatment provision for HIV and AIDS is also an achievement. On the other hand, the National Family Welfare and the Reproductive and Child Health Care programs have focused on antenatal care, hospital deliveries, immunization and contraception with an emphasis on postpartum sterilization. Sex education in schools has met with resistance and has had a restricted impact across the country. Although India has some policies on paper, the approach is fragmentary. In addition, the principal thrust based on health, makes it one-dimensional and much less effective.

Addressing Social Determinants

Countries, which have accepted the need for a national policy, approach the task from a broad base employing multisectoral perspectives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a framework, identified opportunities and challenges and recognized the need for contextualization and adaptation to cultural contexts in order to help promote appropriate, affordable, and accessible sexual health programs of high quality. [sup][15],[16] The WHO has argued for a broader context to sexual health going beyond fertility and reproduction and including sexual dysfunction, disability, sexual violence and sexuality. It has grounded the framework within international human rights and affirmed a rights-based approach to sexual health.

The framework has argued for social determinants and includes: (i) law, policies and human rights, (ii) education, (iii) society and culture, (iv) economics, and (v) health systems. [sup][15],[16],[17] Legal mechanisms are crucial in introducing health intervention, protecting human rights and guaranteeing promotion, protection and provision of sexual health information and services. Laws can also help prevent discrimination related to sexuality and lifestyle. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Social Determinants of Sexual Health
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.