Objectives To construct an Index of Sexual Health Deprivation (ISHD), examine its sensitivity, investigate the association between the ISHD and the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010 (IMD2010), and interpret the observed geographic variation. Methods: The modified IMD method was informed by the IMD2010. Thirteen profiles relating to sexual health were selected and grouped into four domains. The observed profile values for each primary care trust (PCT) were smoothed and converted to a normal distribution before principal component analysis. Loadings were used to calculate profile weights. Domain scores were calculated by combining weighted profiles, which were combined to create the ISHD. A Bayesian approach acted as a comparator for the ISHD. Results: Substantial variation in sexual health deprivation was seen across strategic health authorities (SHA). The London SHA had the highest proportion of PCTs (61%) among the most deprived quartile, followed by North-West SHA (29%). More than half of PCTs in East of England (71%), South Central (56%) and South-West (50%) SHAs fell into the least deprived quartile. No PCTs within the East of England, South Central and South-West SHAs were in the most deprived quartile. Only 57% of PCTs were attributed to the same quartile of the ISHD as the IMD2010. The modified IMD method and the Bayesian approach produced consistent results. Conclusions: The ISHD provides a robust picture of the geography of sexual health and shows a weak association with the IMD2010. It can be used to guide public health action to reduce the geographical gradient in sexual health inequality.
- geographic variation
- multi-dimensional index
- sexually transmissible infection
- teenage pregnancy