- Providing information on STDs
- Assessing clients' risk for STDs
- Counseling clients about safe sexual behaviors
- Promoting and distributing condoms
When programs evaluate the reproductive health service needs
of their clients, they should consider STD prevention services.
These basic services include: providing information on STDs,
assessing clients risks for STDs, counseling clients about
safe sexual behaviors, and promoting and distributing condoms.
Further STD services, including diagnosis and treatment, will
be discussed in a moment.
To provide these services, family planning programs need to
train staff in how to assess clients risks for STDs and
to counsel them regarding method choice. Good materials explaining
the risks of STDs are needed. Unfortunately, many people seeking
family planning services are not aware of their partners
sexual activities outside the relationship. This means they
may not know that they are at increased risk. If they suspect
they may be at risk, they may want to use barrier methods as
Training in counseling can help providers understand how to
address these sensitive issues. Counseling should address changing
unsafe sexual behaviors among clients and their partners. Although
this type of counseling may initially be uncomfortable for both
clients and providers, it is extremely important to assist clients
at risk of STDs. It also may be comforting to some clients to
be able to talk about these issues.
The safest sexual behavior is abstaining from sex. For those
who are sexually active, safe behaviors include using condoms,
reducing the number of partners, choosing partners carefully
and engaging in low-risk sexual practices.
Programs need to promote condoms, including their consistent
and correct use, and make them readily available to those who
need them. Promotion and distribution may involve many types
of outreach efforts. Two particularly important approaches are
social marketing and community-based distribution efforts, which
we will discuss in the next two slides.