Young Women's Sexual Health

 According to the WHO’s working definition, sexual health ‘requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence’. Nowhere is this definition more applicable than in young women’s sexual health, an area of medicine that is challenging, rewarding and more important than ever.

This field is rapidly changing and there are many new developments emerging. Chlamydia prevention and screening for young women remains vitally important amid concerns about a ‘silent’ (subclinical) pelvic inflammatory disease epidemic and its impacts on women’s general and reproductive health. Pelvic inflammatory disease itself requires a high index of suspicion and consideration of differential diagnoses as well as an appreciation of individual and epidemiological risk. Mycoplasma genitalium is an emerging STI that clinicians may need to consider in several clinical contexts. There are new options available for women who require emergency contraception. Changes to the National Cervical Screening program present new opportunities for preventive health. Family and intimate partner violence, transgender health and chronic pelvic pain are also issues GPs may be involved with. We encourage you to explore and familiarise yourself with these topics and other clinical dilemmas, guidelines and new developments in the field. A CPD event on Young Women’s Sexual Health is being held on Thursday 20 April at Ashfield.

Working with young women toward sexual health and wellbeing involves concepts and values such as confidentiality, professionalism, advocacy and continuity of care. Unfortunately, not all young women have positive experiences with health professionals when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. Non-judgemental listening is essential, as is ‘normalising’ the sexual history, educating and ‘myth-busting’ and maintaining evidence-based practice. GPs are ideally placed to provide high quality, patient-centred care in this vital area of the health landscape.

For fast clinical information and support for health professionals, call 1800 451 624.

Young Women’s Sexual Health CPD will be held on Thursday 20 April at 158 Liverpool Road, Ashfield. Click here for details.