Edmondson, Amanda J. (2017) Sexual Health Promotion for People with Serious Mental Illness – is it feasible. In: International Academy of Law and Mental Health, 9th - 14th July, 2017, Prague. (Unpublished)

While people with serious mental illness engage in sexual activity evidence shows that they experience higher rates of exploitation and violence in relationships, sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancy, and blood borne viruses (hepatitis B and HIV). Theories proposed to explain this include acute exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms; co-morbid drug and alcohol problems; previous experience of sexual abuse; sexual stigma and lack of social skills (assertiveness, negotiation re condoms etc.). Evidence also shows that routine discussion about sexual health with supporting staff (mental health professionals) is limited. This session will discuss the key findings of a UK survey and focus groups with mental health professionals on the subject sexual health and relationship needs of people with serious mental illness and the role of mental health professionals in sexual health. The RESPECT study, a feasibility trial to offer an intervention to people with serious mental health problems related to sexual behaviour will also be presented.

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