Sexual health literacy of autistic young women: A qualitative systematic review

Author: Vanessa Thomas

Thomas, Vanessa, 2019 Sexual health literacy of autistic young women: A qualitative systematic review, Flinders University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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It is thought that autistic young women have lower sexual health literacy than their non-autistic peers due to differences in learning and participation styles and needs.


This purpose of this systematic review is to examine the qualitative literature to explore current knowledge of the sexual health literacy of autistic young women with a view to informing future practice in sexual health education and provision.


A meta-aggregative approach was used. Studies were included if attributable data relating to sexual health, sexual identity, sexual knowledge, or the acquisition of sex education was able to be extracted for autistic women aged 16–25 years from studies published from January 2000–March 2019.


Four studies were included for the review. Thirteen findings were extracted and synthesised into six categories and then into two synthesised findings. The synthesised findings addressed factors such as gender and sexuality identity, sex education, and social communication.


There are significant gaps in the understanding of how autistic young women acquire sexual health literacy. For this population to be informed about sex, sexual identity, and sexual health, evidence-based information and resources need to be made available in a method and format that makes sense to them.

Keywords: Autism, Sexual health, Sex education, Autistic female, Sexual health literacy

Subject: Health Sciences thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2019
School: College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Dr Tiffany Conroy