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      The start of sexual health curriculum development and evaluation at Stellenbosch University


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          Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), developed a sexual health course to be integrated throughout the revised medical curriculum.


          To use the Sexual Health Education for Professionals Scale (SHEPS) to gather baseline and future follow-up data to inform curriculum development and evaluation.


          The first-year medical students ( N = 289) of the FMHS SU.


          The SHEPS was answered before the start of the sexual health course. The knowledge, communication and attitude sections were answered with a Likert-type scale. Students had to describe their perceived confidence in their knowledge and communication skills to care for patients within specific sexuality-related clinical scenarios. The attitude section measured the students’ level of agreement or disagreement on sexuality-related opinion statements.


          The response rate was 97%. Most students were female, and 55% of the class were first taught about sexuality in the age group 13–18 years. The students had more confidence in their communication skills than knowledge before any tertiary training. The attitude section revealed a binomial distribution, ranging from acceptance to a more restrictive attitude towards sexual behaviour.


          It is the first time the SHEPS has been used in a South African context. The results provide novel information about the range of perceived sexual health knowledge, skills and attitudes of first-year medical students before they start tertiary training.


          Findings from this study will guide content development and evaluation of the sexual health course at the institution where the study was conducted, as well as allow for culture sensitive education.

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          Most cited references32

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          “Completely out-at-sea” with “two-gender medicine”: A qualitative analysis of physician-side barriers to providing healthcare for transgender patients

          Background Members of the transgender community have identified healthcare access barriers, yet a corresponding inquiry into healthcare provider perspectives has lagged. Our aim was to examine physician perceptions of barriers to healthcare provision for transgender patients. Methods This was a qualitative study with physician participants from Ontario, Canada. Semi-structured interviews were used to capture a progression of ideas related to barriers faced by physicians when caring for trans patients. Qualitative data were then transcribed verbatim and analysed with an emergent grounded theory approach. Results A total of thirteen (13) physician participants were interviewed. Analysis revealed healthcare barriers that grouped into five themes: Accessing resources, medical knowledge deficits, ethics of transition-related medical care, diagnosing vs. pathologising trans patients, and health system determinants. A centralising theme of “not knowing where to go or who to talk to” was also identified. Conclusions The findings of this study show that physicians perceive barriers to the care of trans patients, and that these barriers are multifactorial. Access barriers impede physicians when referring patients to specialists or searching for reliable treatment information. Clinical management of trans patients is complicated by a lack of knowledge, and by ethical considerations regarding treatments—which can be unfamiliar or challenging to physicians. The disciplinary division of responsibilities within medicine further complicates care; few practitioners identify trans healthcare as an interest area, and there is a tendency to overemphasise trans status in mental health evaluations. Failure to recognise and accommodate trans patients within sex-segregated healthcare systems leads to deficient health policy. The findings of this study suggest potential solutions to trans healthcare barriers at the informational level—with increased awareness of clinical guidelines and by including trans health issues in medical education—and at the institutional level, with support for both trans-focused and trans-friendly primary care models.
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            School Based Sex Education and HIV Prevention in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

            Objectives School-based sex education is a cornerstone of HIV prevention for adolescents who continue to bear a disproportionally high HIV burden globally. We systematically reviewed and meta-analyzed the existing evidence for school-based sex education interventions in low- and middle-income countries to determine the efficacy of these interventions in changing HIV-related knowledge and risk behaviors. Methods We searched five electronic databases, PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL, and Sociological Abstracts, for eligible articles. We also conducted hand-searching of key journals and secondary reference searching of included articles to identify potential studies. Intervention effects were synthesized through random effects meta-analysis for five outcomes: HIV knowledge, self-efficacy, sexual debut, condom use, and number of sexual partners. Results Of 6191 unique citations initially identified, 64 studies in 63 articles were included in the review. Nine interventions either focused exclusively on abstinence (abstinence-only) or emphasized abstinence (abstinence-plus), whereas the remaining 55 interventions provided comprehensive sex education. Thirty-three studies were able to be meta-analyzed across five HIV-related outcomes. Results from meta-analysis demonstrate that school-based sex education is an effective strategy for reducing HIV-related risk. Students who received school-based sex education interventions had significantly greater HIV knowledge (Hedges g = 0.63, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.49–0.78, p<0.001), self-efficacy related to refusing sex or condom use (Hedges g = 0.25, 95% CI: 0.14–0.36, p<0.001), condom use (OR = 1.34, 95% CI: 1.18–1.52, p<0.001), fewer sexual partners (OR = 0.75, 95% CI:0.67–0.84, p<0.001) and less initiation of first sex during follow-up (OR = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.54–0.83, p<0.001). Conclusions The paucity of abstinence-only or abstinence-plus interventions identified during the review made comparisons between the predominant comprehensive and less common abstinence-focused programs difficult. Comprehensive school-based sex education interventions adapted from effective programs and those involving a range of school-based and community-based components had the largest impact on changing HIV-related behaviors.
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              Culture and African contexts of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support.

              Culture plays a vital role in determining the level of health of the individual, the family and the community. This is particularly relevant in the context of Africa, where the values of extended family and community significantly influence the behaviour of the individual. The behaviour of the individual in relation to family and community is one major cultural factor that has implications for sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS prevention and control efforts. As the impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa remains unabated, a culture-centered approach to prevention, care and support is increasingly recognised as a critical strategy. In this article PEN-3, a model developed to centralise culture in health promotion interventions, is presented as a framework to be used in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support in Africa. The three domains of the PEN-3 model incorporate specific constructs: relationships and expectations, cultural empowerment, and cultural identity. The cultural empowerment and relationships and expectations domains are 'assessment/appraisal' domains used for cultural assessment. Community identity is the 'application/transformation' domain that helps the public health practitioner assist the community to identify the point of entry of the intervention. In this paper the authors describe PEN-3 and then present examples of how the assessment/appraisal domains can be utilised to frame HIV/AIDS-related concerns in the context of Africa.

                Author and article information

                Afr J Prim Health Care Fam Med
                Afr J Prim Health Care Fam Med
                African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine
                08 March 2023
                : 15
                : 1
                : 3825
                [1 ]Division of Urology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
                [2 ]Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Institute of Sexual and Gender Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States
                [3 ]Private Sexology Practice, the Netherlands
                [4 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Heidi van Deventer, heidivd@ 123456sun.ac.za
                Author information
                © 2023. The Authors

                Licensee: AOSIS. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

                : 31 August 2022
                : 11 January 2023
                Original Research

                curriculum development,sexual health course,medical curriculum,taking a sexual history,sexual health,sheps


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