Taking a Sexual History

Taking a Sexual History is a topic covered in the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics.

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Washington Manual

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  • A sexual history should be taken during initial patient visits or preventive exams or when signs or symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) are present. Patients should be told this is part of the routine medical examination.
  • Providers should discuss with their patients: partners, sexual practices, use of protection from STIs, previous STIs, and pregnancy planning or prevention.
  • When discussing partners, it is important to determine the number and gender of the patient’s partners without making assumptions or using demeaning language. An example opening line is, “Are your sex partners men, women, or both?”

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