Patients' and providers' perspectives on sexual health discussion in the United States: A scoping review. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: The objective of this scoping review was to explore patients' and providers' perspectives on sexual health communication. METHODS: A literature search was conducted in three databases, Medline (OVID), CINAHL (Ebsco), and PsycINFO (Ebsco) covering January 1, 2000-May 12, 2020. A coding sheet with a list of questions was created in Qualtrics to extract information from each article. RESULTS: Thirty-three (33) studies were included in this review. The findings indicated that 1) the current sexual health discussion does not meet the needs of the patients; and 2) patients and providers hold uniquely different perspectives on the importance of the discussion, the responsibility of conversation initiation, and the comfort level of the discussion. CONCLUSIONS: There remains a significant gap between providers' perceptions and patients' needs regarding sexual health discussion. More efforts should be made to promote the necessary sexual health communication. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Providers should initiate the discussion when necessary because it is very likely that patients welcome the discussion. Medical education and training should incorporate sexual health into its curricula to enhance health care professionals' abilities in addressing sexual health issues. Providers should model a sense of openness and comfort in conversation to encourage patients to discuss sexual health.

published proceedings

  • Patient Educ Couns

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, X., Sherman, L., & Foster, M.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Xiaoying||Sherman, Ledric||Foster, Margaret

publication date

  • January 2020