Let’s take a history!– the sexual history

Taking a good systematic sexual history is important to understand your patients’ risk for sexually transmitted illnesses. If you are comfortable taking a sexual history, your patient will usually feel less awkward providing it to you!

The “5 P’s” covers will help you remember to take most of the important questions (note question list below is not meant to be exhaustive):

1) Past history of STIs: Have you ever had an STI  or HIV screen? When and what were the results? Have you ever had an STI? To your knowledge, have you had a partner with an STI? When and how were your treated?

2) Partner: How many partners have you had in the past few months? Past 12 months? Are your parnters male, female or both? Have you or your partners ever exchanged money for sex? Have you or your partners ever used injected drugs?

3) Practices: What kind of sexual contact do you have or have you had in the past? (Genital? Anal? Oral?) Do you use condoms? (Always? sometimes? never?)

4) Protection from STIs: What do you do to protect yourself against STIs and HIV?

5) Prevention of pregnancy: What method of contraception do you use?

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