ASHA is partnering with organizations around the world in putting a special focus on sexual health during the month of September. The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) is launching its fourth annual World Sexual Health Day observance on September 4th, for example, and in support ASHA will offer activities throughout the month that include blogs, surveys, downloadable fact sheets, and more.
During September, ASHA will offer expanded sexual health resources that include fact sheets, interviews, questions and answers from our panel of experts, and perspectives on sexual health from a diverse group of voices in the field.
In 1999, the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) proclaimed the Declaration of Sexual Rights that cover (among others) our rights to sexual freedom, safely, equality, and pleasure. This landmark declaration recognizes that sexuality and sexual health are fundamental to all humans; fittingly, the theme for WSHD 2013 is: To achieve sexual health, picture yourself owning your sexual rights.
For insight into the state of sexual rights in the U.S. and beyond we turned to Dr. Eli Coleman, who is a professor and Director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Since the WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights was adopted nearly 15 years ago, how would you describe the progress made with sexual rights?
I think we have made quite a bit of progress. First of all, the WAS Declaration has been quoted all over the world. The International Planned Parenthood adopted a similar declaration in 2008 - obviously influenced by the WAS declaration. There has been extensive work at the World Health Organization (WHO) on sexual rights ...
African-Americans represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but account for nearly half of all new HIV cases. Why are HIV rates so stunningly high in a relatively small segment of the populace? Dr. Robert Fulilove argues that a key factor driving the epidemic is mass incarceration of young black men, which upsets the sexual dynamics between men and women in African-American communities. In this presentation given as part of TEDMED Day at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Fullilove explains that since the 1970s, the war on drugs has had devastating effects on poor communities of color by depriving them of their young men.
Dr. Fulilove is Associate Dean for Community and Minority Affairs, and Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. He also serves on ASHA’s Board of Directors.
“The U.S. is 5% of the world’s population, yet we house 25% of all the world’s prisoners. The war on drugs began a phenomenon of mass incarceration. It’s estimated that since 1972, drug-related arrests have increased by a factor of three…38% of all inmates doing time in state or federal prisons are African-American."
“Mass incarceration did more to destroy family life in the community; did more to destroy the community’s capacity to develop the kind of collective efficacy that we depend on when we build public health interventions, that it should be no surprise that their loss to the community ultimately paved the way for the creation of a niche for HIV in the community that we are still struggling to deal with.”
--Dr. Robert Fulilove
“We know that cancer profoundly affects every aspect of life but one particular area that is often overlooked is its impact on sexual health.”
It’s probably not the first think that comes to mind when you think about cancer but the impact on sexual function can be dramatic, especially for women undergoing treatment for cervical and other gynecologic cancers. In this Q&A, Dr. Mamta Singhvi talks about common sexual health issues that arise for women with gynecologic cancers and offers some solutions. She also explains that health care providers, patients, and partners all have a role in the process.
Mamta Singhvi, MD, is a resident in Radiation Oncology with the UCLA Health System and a member of ASHA’s Board of Directors.
What kind of physical changes might occur with cervical cancer treatment that can make sex and intimacy challenging?
We know that cancer profoundly affects every aspect of life but one particular area that is often overlooked is its impact on sexual health. A significant percentage of women who survive a pelvic malignancy, including cervical cancer, develop long term sexual affects. Depending on the type of treatment administered, new sexual issues may develop during therapy, soon after completion, or even months to years later. These can include orgasmic problems and painful intercourse due to reduced vaginal size, or a lack of adequate lubrication.