Sexual and reproductive health encompasses HIV, STIs, BBVs, unintended pregnancy, infertility, contraception, sexual dysfunction, and also the ability to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life, maintain respectful relationships and to be free to exercise one’s reproductive rights (McMichael, 2008; World Health Organization (WHO): Department of Reproductive Health and Research, 2006). It is a broad area that is influenced by a large web of factors including sexual behaviour and cultural attitudes, societal factors, biological risk and genetic predisposition. Mental health, violence, acute and chronic illnesses, alcohol, insecure housing, and unsupportive social relationships also play a significant role in sexual and reproductive health.
Of special concern for people from refugee backgrounds are experiences of torture and trauma, violence, forced migration, deprivation, and inter-generational conflict. Women have been particularly affected by war-related sexual violence including rape, torture and sexual slavery (Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, 2005). Many come from countries with a high prevalence of sexual disease, for example, 59% of all adults living with HIV are women living in sub-Saharan Africa (Drummond et al., 2008; Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, 2005).
Victorian Refugee Health Network sexual and reproductive health resources:
- In 2010 the Victorian Refugee Health Network wrote a background paper (Sexual and reproductive health for people of refugee backgrounds) which brings together research and programs that exist within Victoria.
- To find out more about the Network’s engagement with Sexual and reproductive health as a topic, visit our Engag Sexual and Reproductive Health page.
- You may also like to visit our Sexual and reproductive health resource library.
- ASHM is the peak Australiasian organisation supporting the HIV, viral hepatitis and sexual health workforce.
- Spreading the Word: Cervical Cancer Prevention – resources recently developed by PapScreen Victoria. For further information contact: Hiranthi Perera, Community Programs Project Officer on (03) 9635 5147 or
- Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health, through its Multicultural Health and Support Service (MHSS), produces information has produced information on sexual health for men, women, young people and service providers.
- Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service provides a range of multilingual HIV and hepatitis fact sheets in Akan, Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, Burmese, Chinese, Croatian, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Macedonian, Portugese, Serbian, Spanish, Shona, Somali, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese, as well as reports, research papers, and data to inform and support work with CALD communities.