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Sexual Dysfunction and Preferences for Discussing Sexual Health Concerns Among Veteran Primary Care Patients.

Shepardson RL, Mitzel LD, Trabold N, Crane CA, Crasta D, Funderburk JS. Sexual Dysfunction and Preferences for Discussing Sexual Health Concerns Among Veteran Primary Care Patients. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM. 2021 Mar 1; 34(2):357-367.

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BACKGROUND: Sexual health is an important, yet often overlooked, aspect of overall health. Veterans may be particularly at risk for sexual dysfunction. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence and correlates of sexual dysfunction and examine preferences among veterans for discussing sexual problems. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, we mailed 1500 surveys to a random sample of primary care patients from 3 Veterans Affairs medical centers; 313 were returned (21% response rate) and 248 had complete data. Veterans (M age = 49.4 years) were mostly White (86.7%), women (60.9%), and married (79.0%). The Arizona Sexual Experience Scale was used to screen for sexual dysfunction. RESULTS: Half of veterans, 62.3% of women and 32.0% of men, screened positive for sexual dysfunction. More than 60% of veterans agreed that the primary care team should provide information, proactively ask, and inquire on medical history forms about sexual problems; 59.3% were open to meeting with behavioral health providers. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care providers should ask veterans about sexual health, as sexual dysfunction was prevalent, especially among women and among men over age 65. Most veterans were receptive to being asked about sexual problems in primary care and preferred to be asked rather than bring it up.

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