According to World Health Organization definition sexual health is “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.” Regarding sexual health, women have special needs, concerns and risks, which have to be taken into account when planning prevention and intervention strategies.
In year 2014 a group of scientists in University of Tartu carried out the research project “Risk factors, tendencies, prevention and intervention strategies of sexual health among female population of Estonia” (“Eesti naisrahvastiku seksuaalse ja reproduktiivse riskikäitumise mõjurid, suundumused, ennetus- ja sekkumisvõimalused (ESTRE)“). The project was funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Estonian Research Council project TerVe (grant number 3.2.1002.11-0002). A similar project was carried out in 2004. The main purpose of the study was to evaluate the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of women in Estonia using the results on the year 2004 study results as a comparison. The study gives information about the SRH of women aged 16–44 regarding topics which are not routinely collected (e.g. contraceptive methods, the prevalence of infertility and violence, sexual health care services etc.). This survey gives for the first time the opportunity to analyze the changes during the last decade in women´s SRH thus helping to develop evidence-based methods for prevention and intervention.