Sexual and reproductive health

WHO and HRP celebrate World Sexual Health Day

4 September 2017: Sexual health is fundamental to all people’s health and happiness. When we can enjoy good sexual health, it has a positive impact on many aspects of our lives including our reproductive health and well-being. This in turn has a positive impact on our societies and countries. On the occasion of World Sexual Health Day, WHO and HRP are launching a new WHO framework for operationalizing sexual health and its linkages to reproductive health. This new model highlights the many areas where people’s sexual health must be safeguarded throughout the course of their lives – as well as the way in which sexual health and reproductive health are at once distinct and inextricably linked.

Sexual health

Photo montage showing men, women and couples
WHO/Petitpierre J. - Evans S. - UNFPA - UNICEF/Pirozzi

Sexual health is influenced by a complex web of biological and social factors. It requires a positive, responsible approach to sexuality and sexual relationships as well as pleasurable, safe sexual experiences that are free from coercion, discrimination or violence.

Developing sexual health indicators

The proposed indicators cover the following areas of sexual health: healthy sexuality, sexual dysfunction and sexual vulnerability, adolescent sexual health and sexual violence. The indicators range from process/activity (e.g. policy and services related) through outcome (e.g. behavior change) to impact indicators (e.g. prevalence of certain sexual health conditions in different populations).

Developing sexuality counselling guidelines for health care providers

Providers at a community health center in Cambodia counsel clients on family planning and reproductive health.
Photoshare/Marcel Reyners
Providers at a community health center in Cambodia counsel clients on family planning and reproductive health.

In 2010, WHO convened an expert consultation on sexual health to make recommendations on strategic directions. One of the priorities was the development of sexuality counselling guidelines for health care providers. The guidelines would be used as a tool to facilitate the integration of counselling into health services, mainly in primary health care.

Sexual health in the revised 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

The revision of ICD is currently underway. Since its last revision in 1990, there have been substantial advances in health-related knowledge as well as social understanding of sexual disorders and sexual health.
Publication date of ICD-11: 2015

Using human rights for sexual and reproductive health: improving legal and regulatory frameworks

This paper describes the development of a tool that uses human rights concepts and methods to improve relevant laws, regulations and policies related to sexual and reproductive health.