Diversity in sexual health: problems and dilemmas.

Rademakers, J., Mouthaan, I., Neef, M. de. Diversity in sexual health: problems and dilemmas. European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care: 2005, 10(4), p. 207-211.
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The increase in migrant populations in western Europe has led to specific problems and dilemmas in the area of sexual and reproductive health and service provision. In general, these problems and dilemmas can be divided into four categories: (1) epidemiology of diseases and risk factors; (2) psychosocial and cultural aspects; (3) communication; and (4) moral and ethical dilemmas. Regarding epidemiology, there is an increased prevalence in migrant groups of unwanted pregnancy and abortion, HIV/STDs, and sexual violence. Effective contraceptive use is hampered by knowledge deficits, uncertain living conditions, ambivalence regarding the use of contraceptives, and problems accessing (information on) contraception. Psychosocial and cultural aspects relate to the norms and attitudes individuals and groups have regarding the family, social relationships, sexuality, and gender. These norms and attitudes have an impact on the sexual and reproductive choices people make and the possibilities and restrictions they feel in this respect. Problems in communication concern not only language but also communication styles, the way patients present their problems, and the expectations they have from the service provider. Communication problems inevitably lead to a lower quality of care. Moral and ethical dilemmas arise where cultures collide, for example regarding sexuality education and virginity problems. Two examples of practical situations in which migrant patients ask for help with sexual or reproductive health problems will be described. (aut. ref.)