Sexual health, human rights, and law

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Sexuality and sexual health are two closely related concepts that contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of individuals, couples, and families. Our understanding of the concept of sexual health has gone through many iterations, the fi rst one being in 1975, in which a WHO report series defi ned sexual health as “the integration of the somatic, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual being, in ways that are positively enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love”.1 The next defi nition of the concept was in 1994 at the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt, in which the Programme of Action, adopted by consensus by 179 governments, emphasised that reproductive health included sexual health and that its purpose “is the enhancement of life and personal relations, and not merely counselling and care related to reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases”.2