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Review of ABC of Sexual Health.
  1. Colm O'Mahony
  1. Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Trust,Chester CH2 1UL

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    Ed John Tomlinson. Pp 60; £14.95. London: BMJ Books, 1999. ISBN 0-7279-1373-5.

    I was delighted when the editor sent me this book and asked me to review it. I had looked forward with anticipation to the original series that were published in the BMJ. I had thought then that each article was just superb and now they are all neatly packed together in this ABC, I am of the opinion that this is an excellent book which achieves its aim completely. On the cover, it says “it is an ideal reference for doctors, nurses, students and all those not involved in the area of sexual health,” and Professor Adler adds in the foreword that this book will put the profession in touch with the real world, real people, with real problems, and fill a large gap in our knowledge.

    John Tomlinson, the editor, has pulled together an excellent group of experts who have practical experience in the field and have managed to condense that experience into a series of short articles, all of which make informative, yet entertaining reading. In my opinion, no specific background is required to gain information from these articles and I have recommended specific sections of this book for individual patients who need to read about their problem.

    Those of us who work in sexual medicine were amused that the BMJ had to carry a warning about the sexually explicit material inside and, indeed, John Tomlinson refers to this in the preface and admits that a very small number of readers were offended. However, given the general reticence in society about sexual matters, this is not surprising.

    Sexual health is an essential part of having a happy and fulfilling life, and everyone who works in a caring profession should be comfortable when the conversation drifts into areas of sexuality. Patients, who often broach the topic with trepidation, need to be assured of a sensitive hearing. In my opinion, this excellent book will give anyone in the caring profession a good grounding in sexual matters, so that they can explore these areas with patients when appropriate, without embarrassment and have some idea of likely strategies of management.

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