Let’s talk about sex
Taking a sexual history and doing a sexually transmitted infection risk assessment are the cornerstone of good sexual health practice
- By: Michael Rayment, Rachael Jones
- Published: 14 June 2012
- DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e3466
- Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e3466
Sexual health in the United Kingdom remains poor. More than a decade after the Department of Health published its first strategy to improve the sexual health of the nation,1 the number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies remains high, with more than 410 000 new cases of STIs diagnosed in England alone in 2009.2 Encouragingly, however, small decreases in the incidence of some STIs have been observed in recent years. This could reflect the success of new strategies to increase STI testing and improve access to sexual health services, such as the National Chlamydia Screening Programme and the 48 hour genitourinary medicine clinic access target. It is important, however, that medical professionals in any specialty should not see sexual matters as being purely the realm of genitourinary medicine clinicians. Taking a sexual history and doing a sexually transmitted infection risk assessment are the cornerstone of good sexual health practice.