Addressing sexual problems in HIV primary care: Experiences from patients

Theo G.M. Sandfort, Kate L. Collier, Robert Grossberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that sexual problems are common among people living with HIV and may be related to sexual risk taking and treatment adherence. This study explored the extent to which sexual problems experienced by people with HIV are addressed in primary care as well as how primary care responses to sexual problems are experienced by patients. Structured interviews were conducted with 60 patients at an urban HIV clinic. The average age of the participants (37 male, 23 female) was 45.8 years (SD = 7.9). Sexual problems were common. The most common sexual problem experienced in the past year was a lack of interest in sex (53.3 % reported) and the least common problem was painful intercourse (reported by 20 %). There were no gender differences in reports of sexual problems, except that painful intercourse was more frequently reported by women than men. Relatively few individuals who experienced sexual problems had discussed them with their provider, but these individuals were generally pleased with the counseling they had received and could identify several factors that facilitated a positive patient-provider interaction. Those who offer primary care services to people with HIV should be aware of sexual problems their patients may be experiencing and should feel confident in their ability to successfully address these problems. Providers may need additional training in order to adequately address sexual problems among people with HIV in primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1357-1368
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • HIV
  • Patient-provider communication
  • Sexual dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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