Universal principles for sexual history taking
When taking a respectful and inclusive sexual health history, it is essential to consider the following aspects to ensure the client feels reassured that their privacy and confidentiality are protected. A skilled and experienced clinician will adopt an approach that sympathetically encourages their clients to share important details of their sexual activity to identify the appropriate testing, treatment, management, and follow-up, including contact tracing.
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality.
- Consider time available to conduct a sexual history and prioritise questions accordingly.
- Ensure cultural appropriateness.
- When English is a second language:
- Using an interpreter and ensuring an interpreter is used.
- Consider language and dialects.
- Be conscious of assumptions relating to bodies and sexual activity.
- Normalise sexual history taking in general consults.
- Utilise inclusive and respectful language.
- Ensure clients are connected to community support services upon diagnosis of a blood-borne virus and where otherwise appropriate.
- Utilise clinical tools to support an evidence-based approach. Refer to ASHM resources.
- Support clients with contact tracing.
Refer to Australian STI Guidelines – Sexual History for further information and guidance.