The sexual health model: Application of a sexological approach to HIV prevention

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Abstract

This article outlines the Sexual Health Model and its application to long-term HIV prevention through comprehensive, culturally specific, sexuality education. Derived from a sexological approach to education, the model defines 10 key components posited to be essential aspects of healthy human sexuality: talking about sex, culture and sexual identity, sexual anatomy and functioning, sexual health care and safer sex, challenges to sexual health, body image, masturbation and fantasy, positive sexuality, intimacy and relationships, and spirituality. A brief review of literature supporting a need for a more explicit focus on sexuality and relationships in HIV prevention is presented to demonstrate the relevance of the Sexual Health Model. The model in anchored in a holistic definition of sexual health. This definition is followed by a description of the Sexual Health Model's developmental origins in sexuality education, the importance of culturally relevant information, and the authors' qualitative and quantitative research. The model's 10 key components are discussed in more depth, and the theoretical and practical applications of this approach to HIV prevention are discussed. The article concludes with some cautions and suggestions for research. It is recommended that HIV prevention agencies contemplating use of the model should design their sexual health intervention to fit the unique needs of their target population. Evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions based on the model has begun, but further research is needed to confirm its viability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-57
Number of pages15
JournalHealth education research
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

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