Providing information for young people in sexual health clinics: getting it right
- Roslyn Kane, RGN, MSc, Research Fellow1,
- Wendy Macdowall, BSc, MSc, Research Fellow2 and
- Kaye Wellings, MSc, FPPHM, Reader and Director3
- Sexual Health Programme, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
- Centre for Sexual Health Research, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
- Centre for Reproductive and Sexual Health Research, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
- Correspondence R Kane, Sexual Health Programme, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1 7HT, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7927 2177. E-mail:
Background The need to improve the quality and availability of information on sexual health is identified as a key element in achieving the aims set out in the National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV. Providing information about sexual health to young people poses particular challenges because of the sensitive nature of the issues and because of the difficulties that young people may face in sourcing information and asking questions of professionals.
Objective To explore the views of young people attending sexual health services on several aspects of service delivery, including provision of information.
Method Twenty-five in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of young people attending a range of different outlets for sexual health care.
Results This research revealed important information about the ways in which the type, format, tone and design of health promotion materials and the methods used to impart information to young people has a strong impact on client satisfaction during visits to sexual health services.
Conclusions Young people vary greatly in their needs for sexual health information in terms of level, extent and manner of provision. Passive acceptance of information should not be taken to indicate tacit satisfaction with level and complexity. Written information needs to be used in conjunction with face-to-face discussion. Effective provision of sexual health information impacts notably on client satisfaction. Pitched at the right level, sexual health information has considerable potential to enhance sexual health status.
- Accepted February 12, 2003.
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