Sexual health is an important part of overall health. It means the absence of disease and infections but also covers well-being, the ability to control fertility and to have children and the ability to enjoy fulfilling relationships free from discrimination.
The ability of men and women to achieve sexual health and well-being depends on their:
- access to comprehensive, good-quality information about sex and sexuality;
- knowledge about the risks they may face and their vulnerability to adverse consequences of unprotected sexual activity;
- ability to access sexual health care;
- living in an environment that affirms and promotes sexual health i.e. practicing safe sex with use of condoms for men and for women, contraception.
Sexual health-related issues are wide-ranging, and encompass sexual orientation and gender identity, sexual expression, relationships, and pleasure. They also include negative consequences or conditions such as:
- infections with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reproductive tract infections (RTIs) and their adverse outcomes (such as cancer and infertility);
- unintended pregnancy and abortion;
- sexual dysfunction;
- sexual violence; and
- harmful practices (such as female genital mutilation, FGM).