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 diseases (STDs), and sexual abuse and exploitation. Poor communication and self-advocacy skills exacerbate this issue. This is a serious problem for people with disabilities in general, but it can be more pronounced for individuals with IDD.
Adequate health literacy and advocacy skills are critical to health care access, illness prevention, and health promotion. Given health care providers’ lack of training and competence in caring for those with disabilities, it is more critical to develop sexual health literacy and advocacy skills for women with disabilities to improve their sexual health.
This project aims to improve health and well-being of Hoosiers with disabilities by enhancing sexual health literacy and advocacy skills for adult women with IDD and their partners through the development of evidence-based sexual health education in an accessible format. To this end, the project will determine the needs of sexual health of Hoosier adults with IDD through literature review, key informant interviews, and focus groups. This will help identify the current landscape of sexual health for adult women with IDD and their partners in Indiana. This understanding will lay the foundation for addressing the issue based on evidence and guiding future efforts.
This project is funded by the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities (GCPD).