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Canadian Public Health Association

Do you recognize the complex factors involved in assessing a person for risk in sexual and non-sexual decision-making?

  • A Core Competency in the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBIs)

Jesse, a first-year college student, comes to a sexual health clinic because he is concerned that he may have an STI. While speaking with the nurse practitioner, Jesse discloses that he doesn't always use protection while engaging in sexual experimentation. Even after the nurse practitioner explains the risks of unprotected sex, Jesse seems ambivalent about condom use, citing his desire for intimacy and adventure as more important.

Do you work in the area of sexual health or STBBI prevention and support? Do you recognize the complex factors, including the need for intimacy and pleasure, involved in assessing a person for risk in sexual and non-sexual decision-making?

Use the questions below to help you self-assess your knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices related to assessing risk in sexual and non-sexual decision-making. Remember that depending on your role, you may require different levels of proficiency for the various core competencies and it is possible that some of the competencies are not relevant to your work.

  1. Do you understand the association between sexual and relationship satisfaction and are you able to support your clients in achieving healthier and safer sexual relationships?
  2. Are you able to help your clients negotiate healthier sexual relationships, while also considering their need for intimacy and pleasure?
  3. Do you recognize and are you comfortable discussing the factors that may impede an individual's ability to reduce STBBI risk (e.g., unwillingness or inability to negotiate safer sex and/or substance use due to power imbalances in the relationship; lack of self-esteem; substance use problems)?
  4. Do you understand how a sexual relationship can be affirming and healthy even if it includes sexual practices that involve pain and submission?
  5. Can you name several reasons why your clients might be willing to risk contracting STBBIs rather than use protective measures?

Suggested resources:

This is one of a series of cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention. View all 26 cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention.

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