Patient preferences for discussing sexual health with physicians
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Good sexual health is an essential component of overall health; however, numerous barriers have been identified that impede open and honest dialogue between physicians and patients regarding matters of sexual health. In addition, scant research exists on how best to overcome these obstacles and facilitate this important component of physician-patient communication. The current study examines patient preferences for how physicians might initiate and manage these delicate discussions. Based on patients' reports of their past experiences and their preferences for how hypothetical exchanges regarding sexual health should be conducted, strategies are identified for physicians to enact during patient encounters. In total, 387 participants responded to the survey and coding procedures identified four super-categories: initiation, content, style and demeanor and twenty-one sub-categories of patient preferences for discussing sexual health with physicians, most of which were unrelated to participants' demographics. Findings provide insight and strategies that physicians can integrate into their standard practice to better address and satisfy patient sexual health needs.