A qualitative assessment of the sexual-health education, training and service needs of young adults in Tehran
Background: Sexual Health and Relationships Education (SHRE) provides individuals with the knowledge and skills set which helps them to manage risky behaviors and take informed decisions and to protect themselves against STIs, risky behavior and unintended pregnancy. Such education is minimally provided in Iranian schools and universities and previous research has indicated demand and need for SHRE among different social groups. This study explored Iranian young adults' sexual health education,
... training and service needs and ways to improve or augment the existing provision.Design and methods: A qualitative design was employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of 25 young adults who lived in Tehran, Iran and have volunteered to participate in our study. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Participants explained their need and demand for sexual health education and healthcare. They highlighted existing barriers such as lack of reliable resources, taboo and cultural barriers and lack of trust and protected confidentiality to gaining sexual health information and seeking related advice and healthcare. This has resulted in ambiguities and misconceptions, including those regarding the cause and transmission of STIs and correct use of contraceptions.They unanimously expressed their dissatisfaction with the limitedly available sexual health education and provided recommendations for an improved provision, including holding mixed gender extracurricular workshops with a comprehensive approach to sexual health and relationships education.Conclusions: There is a clear need and demand for provision of relevant and reliable sexual health and relationships education to young adults, which needs to be addressed in order for young adults to make informed choices and limit their risky sexual behavior.