Some Practical Considerations

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Some practical considerations

Most clients come to family planning clinics seeking contraceptive services. But their choices about contraception are affected by many aspects of their lives, including their sexuality. To best meet the needs of the clients they serve, providers need to understand and address the role sexuality plays in contraceptive decision making. By creating an environment where clients feel free to discuss sexuality, providers move beyond the medical technicalities of family planning and embrace the goal of helping clients achieve healthy and fulfilling sexual lives.

Like with any other health service, work related to sexuality should be considered within a social and medical context. Though most providers decide to respond to issues concerning sexuality out of a genuine concern for the rights and health of the women and men they serve, providers must also consider some practical implications.

Community response

How will the community perceive the clinic's work related to sexuality? Is it necessary to educate and involve the community to prevent a backlash?

Treatment and follow-up

A program that helps clients determine whether they have an STI must have supporting mechanisms in place. On-site treatment services or convenient referral must be available for clients who are diagnosed as having treatable infections. In the case of HIV infection, the program must help the client and the family come to terms with the fact that AIDS is a fatal disease. Counseling is especially important because it may be the only service the provider can offer.

Support for victims of abuse

If a program wants to create an environment where victims of sexual and other violence are free to seek help, then support services must be available. For example, do shelters and child-care services exist? Does the clinic have security measures in place to protect its staff and clients?

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