Poster or Presentation Title

Evaluating Sexual Health Communication Between Physicians and Female Patients with an Intellectual Disability

Student Author Information

Nanci Dodson, University of LynchburgFollow

Location

Virtual | Room 1

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

7-4-2021 3:15 PM

End Date

7-4-2021 3:30 PM

Department

Public Health

Abstract

Persons with an intellectual disability (ID) are often excluded from receiving high-quality sexuality education, which may leave them ill prepared for sexual activity. In 2006, clinicians recommended that physicians provide educational resources to parents and encourage them to educate their child with an ID. Since this recommendation, little work has sought to describe the sexual health communication between physicians and patients with an ID. The purpose of this study was to describe sexual health conversations between physicians and their female patients with an ID. This study employed an online, open-ended survey. Participants (N=49) were pediatricians, family medicine physicians, or OBGYNS. All but one physician discussed sexual health with these patients. In brief, this study revealed that physician’s primary concerns were the potential for sexual abuse, sexual consent, and pregnancy and STI prevention. Parent’s/patient’s concerns were similar but overwhelmingly focused on aspects of pregnancy and STIs. Consistent with their reported concerns, physicians described contraception and STIs as the most commonly discussed topics. Only three physicians discussed romantic relationships or sexual pleasure. Thirty-three physicians reported discussing sexual health with both the patients and parents together. Three physicians reported preferring alone time with patients to discuss their sexual health. In alignment with previous recommendations, physicians are providing education and parents are engaged with their child’s sexual health. However, females with an ID may still be missing education on the positive outcomes of healthy sexual activity and patients infrequently receive alone time with their physicians, which could facilitate honest conversation from the patient.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Brooke Bouza

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Apr 7th, 3:15 PM Apr 7th, 3:30 PM

Evaluating Sexual Health Communication Between Physicians and Female Patients with an Intellectual Disability

Virtual | Room 1

Persons with an intellectual disability (ID) are often excluded from receiving high-quality sexuality education, which may leave them ill prepared for sexual activity. In 2006, clinicians recommended that physicians provide educational resources to parents and encourage them to educate their child with an ID. Since this recommendation, little work has sought to describe the sexual health communication between physicians and patients with an ID. The purpose of this study was to describe sexual health conversations between physicians and their female patients with an ID. This study employed an online, open-ended survey. Participants (N=49) were pediatricians, family medicine physicians, or OBGYNS. All but one physician discussed sexual health with these patients. In brief, this study revealed that physician’s primary concerns were the potential for sexual abuse, sexual consent, and pregnancy and STI prevention. Parent’s/patient’s concerns were similar but overwhelmingly focused on aspects of pregnancy and STIs. Consistent with their reported concerns, physicians described contraception and STIs as the most commonly discussed topics. Only three physicians discussed romantic relationships or sexual pleasure. Thirty-three physicians reported discussing sexual health with both the patients and parents together. Three physicians reported preferring alone time with patients to discuss their sexual health. In alignment with previous recommendations, physicians are providing education and parents are engaged with their child’s sexual health. However, females with an ID may still be missing education on the positive outcomes of healthy sexual activity and patients infrequently receive alone time with their physicians, which could facilitate honest conversation from the patient.