Skip to main content
×
Home

Sexual health promotion in primary care – activities and views of general practitioners and practice nurses

  • Kate Thompson (a1) (a2), Karen Casson (a2), Paul Fleming (a1) (a3), Frank Dobbs (a1) (a4), Kader Parahoo (a1) (a2) and Janice Armstrong (a5)...
Abstract
Background

Sexual health in Northern Ireland (NI) is poor compared with the rest of Europe with increasing incidences of sexually transmitted infections and one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. Traditionally, sexual health services have been provided in a fragmented way by a wide range of different providers but recent sexual health strategies have flagged sexual health as a key activity within the primary care setting.

Aim

The main aim of the study was to assess the sexual health promotion activities within the primary care setting across one Health and Social Services Board in NI.

Methods

A series of semi-structured interviews with both general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses (PNs) was conducted to assess their views on the key issues in relation to sexual health in primary care. A questionnaire survey was also conducted with these health professionals to elicit information about sexual health promotion activities within the primary care setting.

Findings

The results have shown that promoting sexual health within the primary care setting is often ad hoc and often does not target the ‘at-risk’ population. As such, GPs and PNs tend not to discuss sexual health with non-heterosexual clients or those with learning disabilities due to lack of awareness and training. Health professionals feel inadequately trained to engage in effective sexual health promotion and to provide enhanced sexual health services. Personal embarrassment and lack of time were also identified as barriers for providing effective sexual health care.

Conclusion

Health professionals within the primary care setting require additional training to deal with the sensitive and complex issues inherent in the area of sexual health.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Kate Thompson, Institute of Nursing Research, University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK. Email: ka.Thompson@ulster.ac.uk
References
Hide All
Adler M.W. 1998: Sexual health. British Medical Journal 317, 1470.
CCEA. 2001: Relationships and sexuality education: guidance for post primary schools. Belfast: Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.
DfES. 2000: Sex and relationship education guidance. London: Department for Education and Skills.
DHSSPS. 2002a: Teenage pregnancy and parenthood strategy and action plan 2002–2007. Belfast: Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety.
DHSSPS. 2002b: Investing for health. Belfast: Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety.
DHSSPS. 2003: Consultation document – a five year sexual health promotion strategy and action plan. Belfast: Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety.
DoH. 2001: The national strategy for sexual health and HIV. London: Department of Health.
DoH. 2003: Effective sexual health promotion – a toolkit for primary care trusts and others working in the field of promoting good sexual health and HIV prevention. London: Department of Health.
Gott M., Galena E., Hinchliff S.Elford H. 2004: ‘Opening a can of worms’: GP and practice nurse barriers to talking about sexual health in primary care. Family Practice 21, 528536.
Health Promotion Agency. 2007a: Teenage pregnancy – factsheet. Belfast: Fpa in Northern Ireland and the Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland.
Health Promotion Agency. 2007b: Sexually transmitted infections – factsheet. Belfast: Fpa in Northern Ireland and the Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland.
Hinchliff S., Gott M.Galena E. 2005: ‘I daresay I might find it embarrassing’: general practitioners’ perspectives on discussing sexual health issues with lesbian and gay patients. Health and Social Care in the Community 13, 345353.
Humphrey S.Nazareth I. 2001: GPs’ views on their management of sexual dysfunction. Family Practitioner 18, 516518.
Jolley S. 2001: Promoting teenage sexual health: an investigation into the knowledge, activities and perceptions of gynaecology nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing 36, 246255.
Perry C.Thurston M. 2007: Meeting the sexual health care needs of young people: a model that works? Child Care, Health and Development 34, 98103.
RCN. 2004: Contraception and sexual health in primary care – guidance for nursing staff. London: Royal College of Nursing.
Sadovsky R.Nusbaum M. 2006: Sexual health inquiry and support is a primary care priority. Journal of Sexual Medicine 3, 311.
Savarimuthu D.Bunnell T. 2003: Sexuality and learning disabilities. Nursing Standard 17, 3335.
SEF. 2005: Sex and relationships education framework, forum factsheet 30, sex education forum. London: National Children’s Bureau.
Stein G.L.Bonuck K.A. 2001: Physician–patient relationship among the gay and lesbian community. Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association 5, 8793.
Stokes T.Mears J. 2000: Sexual health and the practice nurse: a survey of reported practice and attitudes. British Journal of Family Planning 26, 8992.
Templeton L., Deehan A., Taylor C., Drummond C.Strang J. 1997: Surveying general practitioners: does a low response rate matter? British Journal of General Practice 47, 9194.
World Health Organization. 2001: Regional strategy on sexual and reproductive health. Denmark: WHO Regional Office for Europe.
World Health Organization. 2004: Progress in reproductive health research: sexual health – a new focus for WHO, progress report, Issue 67. Geneva: WHO.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Primary Health Care Research & Development
  • ISSN: 1463-4236
  • EISSN: 1477-1128
  • URL: /core/journals/primary-health-care-research-and-development
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 29 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 219 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.