World Association for Sexual Health 2019 Conference

In October 2019, Sofia Gruskin, Director of the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, traveled to Mexico City with Avery Everhart, a doctoral student affiliated with IIGH and the USC Spatial Sciences Institute, to participate in the annual meeting of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS).  Professor Gruskin spoke as part of a symposium entitled “ICPD@25: Progress and challenges in achieving sexual health and reproductive rights for all” which reflected on the progress made in the 25 years since the International Conference on Population and Development toward the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights. The panelists were charged with examining opportunities for promoting and protecting sexual health, universal health coverage, and development frameworks.

A paper titled “Sexual health, sexual rights and sexual pleasure: meaningfully engaging the perfect triangle”, published in April by Sofia Gruskin and other colleagues in Sexual & Reproductive Health Matters, laid the framework for the symposium. Gruskin, along with co-author Eszter Kismodi, discussed how the current reality within countries has been a lack of understanding and integration of the links between health, rights and pleasure within policy, program development and service delivery. The panelists spoke of real-world efforts to bring the triangle to life, with a focus on health education, and the lived realities for people with disabilities, transgender communities, and people engaged in sex work. The panel culminated in a call to action to ensure equality, nondiscrimination and universalism, and the sexual rights of all people even in this complicated political moment.

Additionally, Gruskin and Everhart were invited to participate in a consultation meeting on a new initiative by WAS on trans health and rights, and took part in a number of meetings during the Congress to strategize about how best to move transgender health and rights forward in light of the relevant ICD-11 revisions.