According to a recent study, less than 10 per cent of young men and women in India learn about sex from adults including teachers, health care professionals, or family members. Sexual and reproductive health is a topic that most Indians are still not comfortable discussing or are ignorant about. The stigma attached to these topics are the root cause for other, larger issues people, especially women, face every day.
Only 45 per cent young men and 28 per cent of young women have comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS and its prevention in our country. The state of prevention of other sexually transmitted infections for both genders is very low owing to the fact that no proper medical assistance is availed.
In light of such statistics, Practo conducted an internal study to understand how India sees sexual and reproductive health and goes about seeking help.
There has been a 139 per cent growth in sexual health consults, since last year. Users have increasingly preferred online consultation for sexual health queries as it is an easily accessible, private and trustworthy option that can be done from the comfort of one’s home. Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad witnessed significant growth in the number of online sexologist consultations compared to the previous year. People aged between 21 to 30 contributed to 72 per cent of the overall e-Consults on sexual health.
Sexual and Gynaecology accounted for 41 per cent of all e-Consults received last year
46 per cent of all sexual health-related consults come from men, while 54 per cent were from women
72 per cent of the queries came from people aged between 21-30 followed by people from the 31-40 age group
T7 cities witnessed a growth of 196 per cent for sexual health-related e-consults year-on-year
70 per cent of the e-consults for sexual health were from T7 cities like Bangalore, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Chennai
Queries for sexual health in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad has been growing at a rate of 50 per cent year-on-year
Sexual health has been one of the topmost concerns for people from non-metro cities contributing to 30 per cent of all e-consults on sexual health
In Non-T7 cities, most of the queries came from Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar, and Chandigarh
Top topics discussed were abortion, unplanned pregnancy, masturbation, and premature ejaculation
Dr Alexander Kuruvilla, Chief Healthcare Strategy Officer, Practo, said, “e-Consults are empowering patients and practitioners across the country by improving access to quality health services and combating stigma and discrimination. Most people in India brush aside symptoms, esp. those pertaining to sexual and reproductive health, due to societal biases and/or shame, leading to worsening of the condition and low quality of life. Hence, it’s important to consult experts, and for that, access is key. That’s what digital healthcare is solving for: access, convenience and affordability, so there are less resistance and more empowerment to take control of one’s health.”
Dr Gayathri D Kamath, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Fortis Bangalore, said, “There has been a significant change in the way people in India, especially women, approach sexual health. Across all age groups, there has been a constant rise in the number of people seeking information and medical help online regarding sexual and reproductive health. Earlier, couples would shy away from talking about sexual problems for several reasons. They now acknowledge the issues and seek proper assistance in the early stages from specialists which helps in further treatments. Digital platforms like Practo have played a major role in increasing awareness of the different facets of sexual health and in helping people seek professional help instead of suffering silently.”