Intellectual impairment and sexual health: information needs

Br J Nurs. 2007 Feb 8-21;16(3):154-6. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2007.16.3.22968.


Inclusion into the wider community for people with learning disabilities and intellectual impairment has been problematic for many people and in some cases the result has been an exacerbation of mental health problems or a reduction in adaptive functioning. Research has found that people who have chronic mental illness or intellectual impairment are a sexually active group although they might not always be perceived as such. Therefore, there are questions that may be raised over an identified lack of sexual health promotion and practices surrounding safe sex. This short article will examine particular barriers to sexual health care for this patient group in the areas of consent (to sexual acts, screening and treatment), communication and health promotion in this field. Implications for future practice are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Communication
  • Education of Intellectually Disabled / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology
  • Intellectual Disability / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Persons with Mental Disabilities / psychology
  • Persons with Mental Disabilities / rehabilitation*
  • Safe Sex
  • Sex Education / organization & administration*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • United Kingdom
  • Vulnerable Populations