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J Korean Acad Fam Med. 2008 Apr;29(4):269-275. Korean. Original Article.
Kim SH , Lee YM .
Department of Family Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea.
Department of Medical Education, Korea University College of Medicine, Korea. ymleehj@korea.ac.kr
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Physicians rarely take patients' sexual history during routine medical visit, although it would give very helpful information to reach accurate diagnosis and proper management. This survey was conducted to assess the primary physicians' perspectives towards sexual history taking and their actual behaviors on it. METHODS: The survey questionnaire was made through the literature review, in-depth interview and pilot survey. We mailed this questionnaire to 400 primary care physicians who were randomly selected from the lists of internists and family physicians in Seoul and Gyunggi province and 73 of them responded. RESULTS: The mean age of the respondents was 44.3 years. Most of them responded that sexual history is necessary only when the patients' chief complaints are directly related to sexual issues. Among the total, 94% of them answered that he or she took sexual history in less than 25% of the patients who visited his/her own clinic during last one month. The most prevalent barriers to initiate sexual history taking were fear of patients' misunderstanding about sexual harassment or intrusion into patients' personal life (60.3%) and uncertainty to conducting sexual history taking (53.4%). They thought that they were not well educated enough to take sexual history with confidence and more structured education is needed in medical schools and postgraduate residency training. CONCLUSION: Sexual history seemed not to be taken by primary care physicians as a routine medical practice and physicians showed rather passive attitude. Beneficial effects of sexual history taking on patients' management and related communication skills should be emphasized and systematically educated.

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