Original Research

Experiences of general practitioners in the Ga-Rankuwa and Mabopane areas in dealing with patients who have sexual problems

Benjamin Mills, Indiran Govender, Jannie Hugo
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 7, No 1 | a878 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v7i1.878 | © 2015 Benjamin Mills, Indiran Govender, Jannie Hugo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2015 | Published: 09 December 2015

About the author(s)

Benjamin Mills, Department of Family Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Indiran Govender, Department of Family Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Jannie Hugo, Department of Family Medicine, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Background: Sexual problems are common. Many patients with sexual health dysfunction use self-help literature or are often managed in general practice. However, many general practitioners (GPs) find it difficult to discuss sexual health issues because they feel uncomfortable with this and lack training in these matters. These GPs are now referring patients with sexual dysfunction to specialists.

Aim: We sought to explore how GPs working in the Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa areas of handle sexual problems of their patients.

Setting: The setting was the Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa areas of North-West Tshwane, in Gauteng Province.

Methods: A qualitative study comprising eight free attitude interviews with purposefully selected four male and four female GPs. All interviews were conducted in English and tape-recorded. Field notes in the form of a detailed diary was kept. The tapes were transcribed verbatim, and the transcriptions were checked against the tapes for omissions and inaccuracies.

Results: Six themes emerged from the interviews: causes of sexual problems; presentation of sexual problems to the doctor; management of sexual health problems; sex is a taboo topic; society’s need for sexual health discussions, and these discussions have already begun; previous limited exposure and training, and a need for more sexual health training.

Conclusion: This study confirms earlier findings that patients could be either reluctant to discuss their problems or are open about them when presenting to doctors with sexual dysfunction. GPs were not exposed to sexual health training at medical school and, because of this shortcoming, felt that training in sexual medicine should be part of the curriculum.


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