1. Health
Cory Silverberg

When Doctors Shouldn’t Ask About Sex

By May 9, 2008

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Whenever the topic of doctors and sex comes up, I usually argue that more doctors need to talk to their patients about sex. In particular I tend to think that having at least a few questions about sex on any intake form is a good thing.

A recent study, which notably included in depth interviews where the researchers had a chance to actually listen to the experiences of young Australian women, points out that there may be times when more sex talk is actually counter productive when it comes to protecting patient health.

The study, published in the BioMed Central open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases suggests that young women do not like talking about sex with their family doctors, and may be inclined to lie about the number of sexual partners they have if asked.

These findings are particularly important given the context of the research, which was looking into the introduction of routine Chlamydia screening into general medical practice. Currently a doctor will determine if Chlamydia screening is necessary based on a sexual history and an assessment that the patient is “high risk”. Of course the problem is that if patients lie about their sexual activities many young women who should be screened may not be. The young women interviewed favored Chlamydia screening based on age, where all young women of a certain age would be screened regardless of whether they report high risk behaviors or not.

Read more – BMC Infectious Diseases: Take the Sex Out of STI Screening! Views of Young Women on Implementing Chlamydia Screening in General Practice

Related – Talking With Your Doctor About Sex

Photo credit: George Marks/Getty Images

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