Sexual Health (SH) encompasses; genito-urinary medicine, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, contraception, psychosexual medicine, abortion services, teenage pregnancy and sexual & reproductive health. It is delivered in various settings, providing care across specialised services as well as through primary and third sector organisations.
There are a number of other RCN resources available to support nurses working in this area.
The RCN's Public Health Forum and the Women’s Health Forum lead the RCN’s work in these areas. Further information can also be found on the RCN’s Fertility Nursing Forum, Midwifery Forum and Nursing in Justice and Forensic Healthcare pages.
Sexual and reproductive health is an fundamental public health issue and clearly recognised as such by the WHO (2015). Sexual and reproductive health provision includes the provision of contraceptive methods such as implants, intrauterine devices and hormonal contraception and the diagnosis, treatment, management of sexually transmitted infection, HIV care and the public health role of partner notification and promotion of safer sex and including support for individuals in relation to sexuality and healthy sexual relationships. The role of nurses, midwives and health practitioners across sexual and reproductive health are essential to the delivery of high quality care, to support males, females, trans and intersex people who may be vulnerable through unprotected or condom less sex including: sex workers; homeless people; as well as victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and grooming.
Alongside providing advice and support to members, the RCN works closely with charities and professional organisations such as the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), Terence Higgins Trust, NICE, British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) and the UK governments to ensure that nurses play a key part in the development of services and standards across the UK.
Nurses, midwives and health practitioners may be employed by the NHS, independent sector, universities or charities in a variety of roles such as sexual and reproductive health technicians, staff nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, community nurses, lectures and consultant nurses.