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Sexuality affects individuals and society across a broad spectrum of activities through health, but also through factors at multiple levels, such as gender relations, reproduction, and economics. Physiologic, behavioral, and affective measurement of sexuality and sexual behavior is complicated by cultural values and norms but is essential to individual health (including happiness) as well as public health. Cultural or structural norms that stigmatize aspects of sexuality, such as sexual orientation, have adverse effects on individuals across their lifespan, with homophobia being a prominent example of such.
Discuss how one’s age, race, lifestyle, and demographics have an impact on your choice to complete a sexual history when working in the primary care setting with women across a lifespan.
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Every person we interact with in practice is unique and requires unique attention in order to properly be treated for their medical problems. Small details of their life affect what we prescribe and how successful it will be for that individual. Making sure we are able to initiate and complete a full sexual history is important in addressing sexual health concerns, as most people do not willingly bring up sexual health issues unless there is an obvious issue such as infection or pain. The World Health Organization defined sexual health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its function and processes” (Ariin, 2015, p. 1).
In regards to my personal opinion on sexual history and health, I find it just as important as any other aspect of their life. While establishing a new patient, I try to ask every woman of childbearing age if they are sexually active in order to open up the conversation to potential questions or concerns they may have. As a majority of our job is education, this is the ideal time to talk about sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STI/STD’s) and help prevent significant comorbidities related to infections in adolescents and young women (Rosenthal et al., 1997). Sexually transmitted diseases cause a large amount of emotional distress and tend to be higher in certain populations such as low-income and undereducated.
Despite major public health efforts that address the varied diseased caused by sexually transmitted diseases, rates of infections are on the rise globally (Haghir et al., 2018). Providers in the clinic should be focused on adolescents and young women who may partake in high-risk behaviors that are strongly associated with STD acquisition and spread. Educational pamphlets may be beneficial if time does not allow for in-depth conversations in the clinic.
How age, race, lifestyle, and demographics impact the choice to complete a sexual history when working in the primary care.
One’s age play an important role in determining the kind of care that an individual receives. Adolescents for example if given a choice to make their own choices in performing certain gynecological exams. The age at which the patient first started the examination also plays an important role. Young children may refuse examination compared to older adult. On the other hand, geriatric patients with advanced age impact examination especially if the patients have debilitating and chronic conditions. On the other hand adolescence find it difficult to disclose their sexuality.
Race and Lifestyle
According to Prather et al, 2016, racial needs varies when it comes to the health assessment of a female patient. Some cultures consider their sexuality sacred and do not feel comfortable performing sexual assessment and examination. Primary care providers need to be aware of patient cultures and belief in order to provide adequate care in a non-judgmental manner. Different race and cultures view sexual history differently. Some races are unable to disclose their sexual history because of fear of getting shunned in the community or the family.
Patient demographics is one factor that plays an important in the choice of examination to be done. Multiculturalism affects the kind of illnesses as well as mortality and morbidity and as a result it forces people to adapt different cultures impacting the examination to be performed.(Ferguson,& Chor,2018). Patients from certain regions do not accepts some examination and are less likely to allow healthcare professionals to perform certain tests based on nationality. The United States is one of the country that is more accepting different sexuality. Approaching human sexuality needs understanding