Please note - this is a temporary window. id21 is joining forces with Eldis and therefore the id21 website has been suspended. Soon all id21 content will be available on the Eldis website.
Efforts to improve sexual health need robust information about sexual behaviour. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK) analysed data from 59 countries. They conclude that sexual health strategies must go beyond individual risk reduction and address social and economic determinants of behaviour.
The analysis revealed the huge regional variation in sexual behaviour but also showed that there has been less change in behaviour over the past two decades than was thought:
Regional variations in sexual behaviour do not correlate with sexual health status. Higher rates of partner change in industrialised countries are offset by higher levels of condom use and better access to treatment results in better health. The authors explored the main reasons for the variations:
The authors highlight the need to base interventions on evidence rather than myths or moral stances. Approaches focusing exclusively on expectation of individual behaviour change are unlikely to produce substantial improvements in sexual health. Comprehensive multi-level behavioural interventions are needed that reflect the social context. These should attempt to modify social norms and tackle the structural factors that contribute to risky behaviour. Examples include mainstreaming HIV and sexual health in development projects; empowering sex workers through business and IT training; and integrating sexual health education into microfinance schemes. However, the success of these strategies requires decision-makers to accept the reality of sexual practices.
‘Sexual behaviour in context: a global perspective’, The Lancet 368, pages 1706-1728, by Kaye Wellings, Martine Collumbien, Emma Slaymaker, Susheela Singh, Zoë Hodges, Dhaval Patel and Nathalie Bajos, 2006 (PDF) Full document.
DFID R4D project record: Research and capacity building in reproductive and sexual health and HIV/AIDS in developing countries Full document.
Funded by: Partly supported by UK Department for International Development's (DFID) Research Programme Consortium (RPC - HD3, MIS Number: 733637011) for research and capacity building in sexual and reproductive health and HIV in developing countries
id21 Research Highlight: 11 May 2007
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Contact the contributor: email@example.com
Other related links:
'Dual purpose: condom use rises among young single African women'
'Talking freely about sexuality in Zambia'
'Are Nepal’s young migrant garment and carpet factory workers vulnerable to HIV?'
'Educating girls as a ‘social vaccine’ against HIV'
'Sex, lies and survey data: adolescent sexual behaviour in Tanzania'
'Knowing and doing? HIV awareness and sexual behaviour in South Africa'
'Young men and HIV: culture, poverty and sexual risk'