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What Is Sexual Health Education?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Sexual health education provides information to individuals, families, and groups about sexual health issues. These issues may include the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other conditions and diseases that can affect the reproductive system. Individuals can benefit by learning how to maintain good sexual health and to help their partners do the same. Sexual health education is available through many sources, including schools, churches, and public sexual health clinics. Education programs may be delivered in a variety of formats, including classroom education, websites, or one-on-one counseling.

In the most effective sexual health programs, information is provided in a way that is both age appropriate and culturally sensitive. Depending on the type of program and its audience, sexual health education programs may include detailed information about the human reproductive system, various types of STIs, and methods for preventing them. Information about contraception and abortion may also be included.

Various institutions and organizations provide sexual health education and may also offer additional services related to sexual health along with instruction. For example, many sexual health clinics have outreach programs that offer community members information about STIs while also encouraging the public to participate in screening services offered by the clinic. Individuals who have specific sexual health concerns may likewise be invited to come to the clinic for additional, private counseling that addresses their specific concerns.

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Some sexual health education does not take place in either a classroom or clinical setting, and some organizations engage in alternative outreach methods in order to inform the public about sexual health issues. For example, an organization dedicated to the promotion of sexual health may sponsor an interactive website that provides accurate information and various types of media about STIs, pregnancy prevention, and other reproductive health conditions. It may also produce and distribute videos and printed literature on these topics.

Other forms of sexual health education may address aspects of both male and female reproductive health that are not directly related to the consequences of sexual behavior. For example, women may be provided with information about the importance of regular cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer prevention, and the symptoms of various types of pelvic disorders. Men, on the other hand, may be provided with information about self-examinations for testicular cancer as well as information on obtaining regular prostate cancer screenings.

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