Sexual health off the agenda in CHD patients

Irish GPs have participated in a survey about sexual problems in patients with coronary heart disease. This survey assessed how these difficulties were discussed in general practice.

Most of the GPs said that they never or rarely discussed sexual problems with patients within three months of the diagnosis of heart disease. The subject of sex was also infrequently discussed in chronic cases.

In most practices, the patients were more likely to raise the issue than their GPs were. This was despite most GPs believing that sexual health was important.

Few GPs felt very knowledgeable or confident about dealing with sexual problems. More than 60% said a lack of training was a barrier to broaching the topic. Approximately 11% of GPs had referred patients with sexual problems to other health professionals.

Only 20% of the doctors said that embarrassment was a barrier to them discussing sexual health, but 41% were afraid of causing offence if they