Family physicians should use a proactive, integrated, patient-centered approach to sexual health that includes, but is not limited to, disease identification and treatment. Successfully delivering positive, affirming, nonjudgmental sexual health care requires intentionally creating safe spaces for all patients. Physician and staff training could include identifying individual implicit bias around sexuality and sexual topics, adverse childhood experiences, and trauma-informed care. Models such as the five Ps (partners, practices, protection from sexually transmitted diseases, past history of sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy plans) and ExPLISSIT (extended permission giving, limited information, specific suggestions, and intensive therapy) can help physicians organize their approach to sexual health histories. Preventive health strategies include screening for sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections, screening for and offering preexposure prophylaxis for HIV, behavioral counseling to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, and preconception care for all patients, including gender-diverse patients. Because sexual health concerns are quite common, family physicians should be prepared to discuss topics such as erectile dysfunction, dyspareunia, and arousal disorders.
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- Doctor’s Voice