This project aims to improve the health and well-being of Hoosiers with disabilities by enhancing sexual health literacy and advocacy skills for women with IDD through the development of evidence-based sexual health education in an accessible format. Lack of formal and accessible sexual health education, coupled with myths about their sexuality, can make individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) vulnerable to inaccurate sexual health information, unsafe sexual practices, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual abuse and exploitation. Adequate sexual health literacy, as well as communication and self-advocacy skills, are essential to health care access, illness prevention, and health promotion.
To address these critical needs, the project has completed a comprehensive assessment of the sexual health needs of Hoosier women with IDD. The assessment comprised literature reviews of sexual health needs and sexual health curricula, interviews with key informants, and focus group discussions. The outcomes of these activities provide the foundation for the next phase of the project. Our research findings are detailed in several reports and fact sheets that can be downloaded from the Center for Health Equity’s Publications web page.
In 2020-2022, project staff are addressing the unique sexual health needs of Hoosier women with IDD through the development, delivery, and evaluation of an evidence-based sexual health curriculum in both online and in-person training formats. In addition, staff will identify the needs of family caregivers and disability service providers concerning sexual health education for women with IDD and will promote to them the importance of such education. We seek to advance the sexual health rights of women with IDD through education and dissemination of project publications. Publications developed will include plain language materials about key findings of the project. Staff will collaborate with women with IDD throughout the project period.
This project is funded by the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities (GCPD).