Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Current practice of sexual history taking by sexual health physicians in Australia and New Zealand
  1. R L Tideman1,
  2. M K Pitts2,
  3. C K Fairley1
  1. 1The University of Melbourne, School of Population Health, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre 580 Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia
  2. 2Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, Latrobe University 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Robin Tideman
 Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, 580 Swanston Street, Vic 3053, Australia;


Objectives: To document the current practice of fellows of the Australasian College of Sexual Health Physicians (ACSHP) when taking a sexual history from a new client.

Method: A postal questionnaire was sent to all eligible fellows practising sexual health medicine in public sexual health centres in Australia and New Zealand (n = 93). The study period extended from 3 February to 4 April 2003 inclusive.

Results: 77 (83%) fellows returned the questionnaire and, of these, 71 (76%) were eligible for inclusion in the analysis. The median number of years of practising sexual health medicine was 16 (range 5−32) with 70% having worked in the field for 10 years or more. The generic questions that fellows asked most often concerned the presenting complaint/reason for attendance, the history of the presenting complaint, current sexual relationship status and last sexual contact, history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), use of condoms during sexual intercourse in the past 3 months, and pattern (always, usually, sometimes, never) of condom use during that time period. The least frequently asked generic questions concerned age at first sexual activity, the number of sexual contacts, lifetime condom use, and hepatitis A status.

Conclusion: This study establishes the consistency and variability of sexual health information currently collected by fellows of the ACSHP when taking a history from a new client.

  • sexual history taking
  • sexual health centre

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors

    RLT, MKP, and CKF planned the study; RLT was responsible for the coordination of the study, recruitment of the subjects, data collection, and entry of data into a study database; RLT and CKF performed the statistical analysis; RLT, MKP and CKF wrote and edited the paper.