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Journal: Sexual Medicine Reviews



Strategies of harm reduction (HR) include policies and community-based measures aimed to reduce the risk of self-harm while continuing potentially hazardous behaviors, such as illegal drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.


To assess whether and to which extent strategies of HR could have beneficial, or harmful, effects on sexual and reproductive health, for general and at-risk populations.


A literature research was performed between July 2020 and January 2021, investigating the association between harm reduction strategies and sexual and reproductive health.


HR strategies are mostly aimed at providing support to at-risk population, such as injection drug users or sex workers. Alcohol and drug use, smoking and high-risk sexual behaviors are among the main targets for HR strategies. Barriers to access, such as stigma, marginalization or lacking awareness, are often present as negative risk factors and require attention from professionals. Preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), early/unwanted pregnancies and violence are the most important results HR programs could provide for sexual and reproductive health. However, evidence is limited and often qualitative, rather than quantitative.


HR strategies are important measures to improve sexual and reproductive health in at-risk populations. Increasing personal and social awareness is a key factor for the success of HR programs. A Sansone, E. Limoncin, E Colonnello, et al. Harm Reduction in Sexual Medicine. Sex Med Rev 2022;10:3–22.