Background There is evidence to suggest that Asian women in the UK have specific contraceptive and sexual health needs. It has been reported that Asian women may use less reliable contraceptive methods and that cultural influences can affect access to sexual health services. As part of a wider needs assessment project we compared Asian women's usage of our specialist Contraception, Sexual and Reproductive Health Services to that of non-Asian women.
Methods An anonymous questionnaire was offered to all service users between October and December 2007. Data were analysed separately for Asian and non-Asian women.
Results The response rate was low for Asian women with only 26% completing questionnaires. There were no significant differences between the groups for proportions of women attending for each contraceptive method. A smaller proportion of Asian women were using the service for contraception and a greater proportion were attending for other sexual health reasons compared to non-Asian women. Confidentiality, female staff and not wanting to see their general practitioner were stated more often as reasons for using our service by Asian women.
Conclusions The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV emphasises the need for services targeted at ethnic minorities. Asian women use our clinics for a variety of their sexual health needs. Our service is used by some in preference to general practice, which may reflect ease of access and the perceived confidentiality that a dedicated Contraception and Sexual Health Service offers. These preferences should be considered by primary care trusts when commissioning services.
- service provision
- sexual health
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