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Report on the MSSVD Spring meeting, Belfast, 24–26 May 2001
  1. Mary Stevenson1,
  2. Mia Huengsberg2
  1. 1Department of GU Medicine, Dudley Guest Hospital, Dudley DY1 4SE, UK
  2. 2Whittall Street Clinic, Birmingham B4 6DH, UK

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    This year's spring meeting was held in Belfast's Waterfront Hall. We opened with a satellite meeting of the sexual dysfunction special interest group. Frances Keane assured us that assessment of the patient with an ejaculatory disorder started at reception, when their timeliness for appointments could give useful information. Low dose SSRIs or tricyclics have been used effectively for this unlicensed application but can themselves cause erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil (Viagra) may work by reassurance that their erection will last.

    We heard a highly entertaining discourse on the determinants of sexual orientation by John Green. He reckoned any genetic determinant for homosexuality should be selected out, since homosexual men have about one fifth as many children as heterosexuals. No hormonal or immunological theories have borne scrutiny. From family studies it would appear that birth order is important: the more older brothers a man has the more likely he is to be homosexual. There is a higher rate of homosexuality in siblings of homosexual men and women.

    We heard a lot about the internet and world wide web in the first plenary session, one presentation, and a poster. Three speakers explored the many ways in which the web could be used to our advantage.

    We were also reminded of security issues, and the difficulties of typing in key words pertaining to GUM. Just suppose your area of interest is prostitution!

    The benefits of collection of information through web based surveys and the dissemination of information to profession and public were discussed. Teaching, through web based lectures or interactive sites, can be accessible at any time and taken at the pace of the student. Sharing of epidemiological data and early warning of outbreaks can make the internet a useful tool for disease control.

    Syphilis rates are low but rising, principally among men who have …

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