, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 135-148
Date: 02 Feb 2013

Evidence of Absence: Midlife and Older Adult Sexual Health Policy in Australia

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Abstract

A scoping review was undertaken to examine current Australian federal, state and territory government health policy documents to ascertain their relevance to midlife and older adult sexual health. It was found that the sexual health of midlife and older adults was not specifically referred to in most documents reviewed. Existing policy has a focus on risk, not wellbeing, in relation to sexual health, and an emphasis on reproduction, which excludes midlife and older people. This paper provides evidence of absence of sexual health policy relating to the needs of midlife and older adults in Australia. Without a policy that specifically addresses the sexual health of midlife and older adults, they will continue to be overlooked in health promotion planning and sexually transmissible infection testing strategies. We recommend the development of Australian sexual health policy that supports and promotes good sexual relationships and sexual health specific to the needs of midlife and older adults.