Sexual and reproductive health

Developing sexuality counselling guidelines for health care providers

Background

In 2010, WHO convened an expert consultation on sexual health to make recommendations on strategic directions for RHR work in this area. One of the priorities recommended was the development of sexuality counselling guidelines for health care providers as a tool to be used to facilitate the integration of this counseling into health services, mainly by primary health care workers (physicians, nurses and others)and in sexual and reproductive health services.

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services for all, and promotion of sexual health rather than mere treatment of sexually transmitted infections. The development of this guide requires an evidence informed process and has to be done according to the WHO Guidelines Review Committee's standards.

Objective

To gather existing evidence on critical elements of sexuality counseling, how to deliver it and outcomes of sexuality counseling to formulate clear recommendations on such sexuality counselling for health care providers.

Methods

This process requires approximately 1.5 - 2 years, and will take place during 2012-2013. Evidence retrieval, assessment and synthesis as well as formulation of recommendations are to be done according to the GRADE approach, i.e. WHO methodology for guideline development, WHO Handbook, March 2010.

These processes will be initiated in early 2012 once the document outlining the scope of the potential guidelines is approved by GRC ( the scoping document is currently under development). The establishment of an Official Guidelines Development Group and a systematic literature search according to the PICOT questions will be the first steps taken after receiving the above approval.

Expected results

WHO Guidelines on provision of sexuality counselling in health care settings.