Background: Erectile dysfunction medications are being prescribed frequently; however, little is known about the amount of sexual health screening occurring in this setting.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study evaluating sexual health and sexually transmitted infection screening occurring in veterans receiving initial erectile dysfunction medication prescription was conducted.
Results: A total of 252 patients received initial erectile dysfunction medication prescriptions between October 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009; had at least 1 health care provider visit 12 months before the date of initial prescription; and had no documentation of previous erectile dysfunction medication use. Approximately 3% of these patients had any aspect of a sexual history recorded in the 24 months surrounding initial erectile dysfunction medication prescription. Sexually transmitted infection screening was 9.9% for syphilis, 4.8% for HIV, and 4.3% for gonorrhea/chlamydia before prescription, with only a slight increase in HIV screening after prescription.
Conclusions: Minimal sexual health assessment is being performed during the time surrounding initial prescription of erectile dysfunction medication. Further work needs to evaluate patient and provider barriers to basic elements of sexual health care, such as taking sexual histories or screening for sexually transmitted infections.
A study performed with veterans at a large Southeastern Veterans Affairs medical center who received erectile dysfunction medication found that few sexual health discussions or screenings were recorded.
From the Departments of *Quality Management and †Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham, AL; ‡Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; and §Departments of Pharmacy and Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham, AL
Conflicts of interest and source of funding: K.M.H. and J.A.C. reported no conflicts. J.W.B. reported consulting for Pfizer, Merck, and Abbott. E.W.H. reported consulting for Cempra, MedHelp.org, and speakers’ bureaus for Becton-Dickinson, Cepheid, and received royalties from McGraw-Hill and Lange Publications. No external funding was obtained for this study.
Correspondence: Katherine M. Holman, MD, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1900 University Blvd THT 229, Birmingham, AL 35294. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Received for publication April 8, 2013, and accepted August 4, 2013.