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Sexual health promotion with young people with a disability

People with disability are a diverse group of people with diverse needs and experiences who are too often forgotten in sexual health promotion. The United Nations (2009) identifies people with disability as ‘those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’. People with disability have the right to have sexual relationships, to access sexual health services and information, and to make decisions about their own bodies. Yet young people with disability often have numerous barriers to attaining good sexual health and wellbeing. It is commonly assumed that they don’t or can’t have sex, or that they don’t have diverse gender or sexual identities. Where these assumptions are held by support workers or professionals, this may impact a person’s ability to access sexual health information and services. Young people with disability, particularly young people with intellectual disability, may receive limited sexual health education at school and may therefore miss out on learning key sexual health messages. Sexual health programs and resources are often inaccessible or not suited to the person’s particular needs or circumstances. For more information on sexual health promotion with young people with a disability, see the references here. Download Sexual health promotion with young people with a disability.

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