The Sexual Health Literacy Rate in Iran is Low

Zohreh Keshavarz, Ph.D. holder of reproductive health, sex therapist and sex medicine fellowship, told SINA Press about the importance of sexual health literacy and the role of misconceptions in the occurrence of sexual problems in society: "In today's world, for everyone to function properly, one must acquire a wide range of abilities and competencies and obtain sufficient literacy in the necessary fields. One of the most important abilities is to receive health related trainings. According to the World Health Organization, health literacy means the acquisition of cognitive and social skills that determine the capacity and ability of individuals to process, understand and use the received information, so that it leads to appropriate decisions and promotes health.
Referring to the spread of health-related trainings in the country, she said: The spread of health literacy varies in different countries. Studies in Iran show that this type of awareness is not very favourable in our country; as a result, there is a need for people in many fields to increase their level of knowledge in order to increase their awareness, and to improve the health rate in the society.
Related to the level of health literacy and the academic education of individuals, Keshavarz said: "Studies have shown that health literacy is also related to the educational level of individuals. The more academically literate people are, the more information they have about health, especially sexual health. But in some cases, the level of health awareness, despite having an academic education, may still be neglected."
She added: "In these circumstances, special training must be implemented. These trainings should take place in a focused way, especially in the field of health and sexual fertility. In this regard, beyond the information that people receive from various sources, they should be trained too. The trainers and teachers in this field are also very important; According to studies conducted in the country on the level of sexual fertility among couples, it should be said that in addition to the lack of knowledge in this area, the research and processing of information in this area is also weak. It is worth mentioning that today our society needs education in the right way to increase the promotion of sexual health and fertility." 
According to the Keshavarz, the resources that people turn to for sexual health literacy are very important. It should be noted that most of these sources lack scientific validity, like cyberspace sources. For this reason, it may lead to the spread of a series of inefficient and incorrect beliefs in the heart of society. 
 Keshavarz considered the lack of understanding and proper processing as another problem in the sexual awareness discussion and said: "Another issue is that sometimes there is access to accurate information and resources; But proper understanding and processing is not achieved by individuals. One of the results of increasing health literacy is that people are empowered to have a proper awareness and attitude towards sexual issues. Therefore, in addition to access to credible scientific resources, proper understanding and processing can lead to a correct and informed decision."
At last, she added: "Couples need to be adequately educated. These sexual fertility trainings are not just limited to the premarital period, but the reproductive health literacy should continue throughout the couple’s life as it is after the marriage that couples face issues and require accurate knowledge and attitudes."
Interview by: Mahtab Damirchi
Translated by: Mehdi Fallahi Panah

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