The contribution of interagency collaboration to the promotion of young people's sexual health.
This paper employs a case study approach in order to examine the contribution of interagency working to the delivery of education and services in the difficult field of young people's sexual health. It reports on a collaborative UK initiative involving teachers, community health practitioners, health promotion staff, and youth and community workers. The provision included school-based sex education, drop-in advice and information facilities, 'detached' street work, and a young person's clinic. A qualitative study was completed involving detailed interviews with 25 staff from the different agencies involved. The findings suggest that interagency collaboration can enhance the work of each organization, and can achieve a comprehensive response to young people's sexual health needs by making positive use of the distinctive roles, skills, knowledge and approaches of the different agencies. The potential that such a collaboration will have a significant impact on young people's sexual health is discussed. (+info)
Increasing prevalence of genital herpes in developing countries: implications for heterosexual HIV transmission and STI control programmes.
BACKGROUND: The recognition that sexually transmitted infections (STI) facilitate HIV transmission among heterosexuals has led to a rejuvenated focus on improving STI control as a component of HIV prevention programmes in developing countries. While efforts so far have focused mainly on all STI, there is increasing evidence that genital ulcers facilitate a considerable proportion of HIV transmission among heterosexuals and that this effect has been underestimated. This paper focuses on the epidemiology of genital herpes in developing countries past and present. OBJECTIVES: To review the scientific literature about the epidemiology of genital herpes in developing countries and discuss the implications of the findings for STI control and HIV prevention programmes. SEARCH METHODOLOGY: A Medline search for June 1966 to August 1999 using the keywords, genital herpes, STD and developing countries, and genital ulcers in MeSH and free text. Abstract books from recent international AIDS conferences and other international STD conferences were reviewed. The annual reports of the medical officers of heath for Harare 1982-1998 and Durban 1989-1997 were reviewed to detect trends in genital herpes diagnoses. FINDINGS: Genital herpes, formerly regarded as a minor STI in most developing countries, has now emerged as a leading cause of genital ulceration in many countries where syphilis and chancroid were more prevalent previously. This increased recognition of genital herpes reflects both a change in the pattern of STI epidemiology through a decline in syphilis and chancroid as a response to HIV control programmes and improved techniques for diagnosing herpetic infection. Countries with significant heterosexual HIV epidemics also appear to have rapidly increasing numbers of genital herpes cases. CONCLUSIONS: The emergence of this herpes epidemic must be addressed through innovative strategies that will be viable, sustainable, acceptable, and effective in developing countries. In countries where genital herpes is a significant problem, local adaptation of WHO treatment algorithms should be made. STI service providers should be trained about issues around the transmission of herpes and how best to advise clients about dealing with, and recognising, recurrences. The effectiveness of antiviral treatment for genital herpes should be investigated in core groups at high risk of HIV. (+info)
Managing menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: results of a randomized controlled trial.
BACKGROUND: Menopausal symptoms (e.g., hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and stress urinary incontinence) are very common in breast cancer survivors and cannot be managed with standard estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) in these patients. The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of a comprehensive menopausal assessment (CMA) intervention program in achieving relief of symptoms, the improvement in quality of life (QOL), and sexual functioning in breast cancer survivors. METHODS: Using a two-group, randomized controlled design, we assigned 76 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors with at least one severe target symptom either to the intervention group or to a usual-care group. Seventy-two women were evaluable at the end of the study period. The CMA intervention, delivered by a nurse practitioner, focused on symptom assessment, education, counseling and, as appropriate, specific pharmacologic and behavioral interventions for each of the three target symptoms. Psychosocial symptoms were assessed with the use of a self-report screening instrument, and distressed women were referred for counseling if needed. The intervention took place over a 4-month period. Outcomes measured were scores on a composite menopausal symptom scale, the RAND Short Form Health Survey Vitality Scale, and the Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System (CARES) Sexual Functioning Scale at baseline and at 4-month follow-up. All statistical tests were two-sided and were performed at the alpha =. 05 significance level. RESULTS: Patients receiving the intervention demonstrated statistically significant improvement (P =.0004) in menopausal symptoms but no significant change in vitality (P =.77). Sexual functioning was statistically significantly improved (P =.04) in the treatment group compared with the usual-care group. CONCLUSIONS: A clinical assessment and intervention program for menopausal symptom management in breast cancer survivors is feasible and acceptable to patients, leading to reduction in symptoms and improvement in sexual functioning. Measurable improvement in a general QOL measure was not demonstrated. (+info)
Contradictions in the medical encounter: female sexual dysfunction in primary care contacts.
BACKGROUND: Over the past two decades, primary care physicians have been encouraged to participate in the management of sexual disturbances. Women with type 2 diabetes, often treated by GPs, are at high risk of experiencing sexual dysfunction. OBJECTIVE: Very few qualitative studies have described the impact of sexual dysfunction on the diabetic women experiencing it. Our aim was, therefore, to explore the effects, if any, of type 2 diabetes on "womanhood and intimacy" and investigate whether women wish to receive medical attention for their sexual disturbances. METHODS: We used a purposeful sample of middle-aged and older women (44-80 years) diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (n = 33). Methods triangulation was employed: focus group interviews were combined with observer data and a structured, anonymous questionnaire. We performed content analysis, with co-researcher control for systematic bias during the coding process. RESULTS: Personal characteristics, such as age, sex, experience and attitude of the doctor, the specialty considered to be appropriate (GP versus gynaecologist) and circumstances (time and privacy) in the primary care setting appeared to significantly influence women's willingness to discuss--if at all--sexual matters with physicians. CONCLUSION: GPs should aim to create an open atmosphere to encourage discussion of female sexual dysfunction in the consultation room. However, women with sexual problems might benefit more from peer help through patient or women's organizations. The role of GPs might therefore consist of supporting these services and identifying female sexual dysfunction in type 2 diabetes, a problem that middle-aged and older women have difficulty communicating. (+info)
When an erection alone is not enough: biopsychosocial obstacles to lovemaking.
Giving men firm erections is relatively straightforward these days; getting them to make use of it regularly in lovemaking is more complicated. Discontinuation rates for any of the available medical treatments for erectile dysfunction, including sildenafil, have been found to range from 50% to 60%. Thus, there is a disproportionately high number of individuals who fail to continue using medical interventions compared to those for whom treatment is efficacious. If not efficacy, then what factors contribute to this puzzling dropout phenomenon? This article discusses the psychological resistances of men, women, and couples that contribute to their stopping treatment for erectile dysfunction. Some of the factors that may be responsible include: (1) the length of time the couple was asexual before seeking treatment; (2) the man's approach to resuming a sexual life with his partner; (3) the man's expectations of how sildenafil will change his life; (4) the partner's physical and emotional readiness to resume lovemaking; (5) the meaning for each partner of using a medical intervention to restore lovemaking; (6) the quality of the nonsexual relationship; and (7) unconventional sexual arousal patterns in the man. To be effective, clinicians must go beyond the simple restoration of erectile function to help patients become active lovemakers again. (+info)
Providing information for young people in sexual health clinics: getting it right.
BACKGROUND: The need to improve the quality and availability of information on sexual health is identified as a key element in achieving the aims set out in the National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV. Providing information about sexual health to young people poses particular challenges because of the sensitive nature of the issues and because of the difficulties that young people may face in sourcing information and asking questions of professionals. (+info)
15-month followup of women methadone patients taught skills to reduce heterosexual HIV transmission.
Heterosexual contact with intravenous drug users accounts for a growing proportion of cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among women. In an earlier study designed to reduce sexual risk behavior, the authors randomly assigned 91 methadone maintained women to information-only or skills-building conditions. Modest outcomes favored participants in the skills-building group. In this 15-month followup of 62 remaining study participants, skills-training group members were more likely than controls to use condoms. In comparison with controls, members in the skills-building group felt more comfortable talking about safe sex, perceived themselves as more able to reduce their exposure to AIDS, but were more likely to attribute AIDS risk to luck. No associations were found between group condition and number of sexual partners or frequency of buying and carrying condoms. Some gains associated with a group intervention tended to be maintained over time, indicating that preventive interventions composed of multiple sessions and conducted in treatment settings may have promise as useful strategies to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Nevertheless, decay was evident in other domains, suggesting that prevention specialists should consider booster sessions or other means of maintaining changes in risk behavior. (+info)
Sexual practices and AIDS knowledge among women partners of HIV-infected hemophiliacs.
About 12 percent of the women sex partners of hemophilic men who are seropositive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have themselves become seropositive. Questionnaires were completed in January 1988 by 15 women who were in long-term, monogamous relationships with HIV-positive hemophiliacs; 11 of the women were not HIV seropositive and 4 were. None of the couples was abstaining from sexual intercourse, and during the 4 weeks prior to responding, the couples had intercourse a mean of 6.2 times. Sixty percent always used condoms, 13 percent did so most of the time, and the remaining 27 percent did sometimes. Condom use was not significantly related to either frequency of intercourse, the women's knowledge of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-risk reduction, the actual HIV status of both partners and the women's perceived status of both, the extent of the women's worry about contracting AIDS, their reported degree of negative impact from AIDS, or to their mood, age, or education. All women who reported not always using condoms had been informed of their own and their partner's HIV status; were counseled repeatedly regarding risk reduction; acknowledged the possibility of heterosexual HIV transmission; said they knew of recommendations for the use of condoms; recognized their risk of HIV infection; claimed some degree of worry about acquiring HIV through sexual activity; had children at home; and were not, with one exception, trying to become pregnant. There were several possible factors influencing the decision by women at high risk for acquiring HIV not to use condoms. Among them were complaints that the women found condoms unpleasant or an unwanted reminder of AIDS, a sense of obligation or a drive to continue unaltered sexual relations, the false reassurance of HIV-negative test results for some of the women who did not always use condoms, a willingness to sacrifice and to share their partner's fate, a desire to avoid communicating rejection and adding to their partner's burdens, and difficulty changing long-standing behavior patterns despite logical understanding of the risks involved. (+info)