Global debate on required policy responses to issues of older persons has intensified over the past 15 years, fuelled by a growing awareness of the rapid ageing of populations. Health has been a central focus, but scrutiny of global policies, human rights instruments and reports reveals that just as older people are excluded from sexual and reproductive health and rights agendas, so are issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights wholly marginal to current agendas focused on older people. A critical question is whether the policy lacuna reflects a dearth of research evidence or a faulty translation of existing knowledge. A reading of the current research landscape and literature, summarised in this paper, strongly suggests it is the former. To be sure, sexuality in old age is a burgeoning field of scientific inquiry. What the existing knowledge and discourse fail to provide is an engagement with, and elucidation of, the broader sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda as it relates to older persons. A concerted research effort is needed to provide a basis for developing policy guidance and for pinpointing essential indicators and establishing necessary data systems to enable a routine tracking of progress.
- SPS Centre for Research in Health and Social Care