JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sexual health education in U.S. physician assistant programs

Lori A Seaborne, Ronald J Prince, David M Kushner
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2015, 12 (5): 1158-64
25856226

INTRODUCTION: Since the 1950s, sexual health education in medical schools has been evaluated and reported upon, but there has never been an assessment published about sexual health curricula in U.S. physician assistant (PA) programs.

AIM: The aim of this study was to gain better understanding of how PA programs cover sexual health topics.

METHODS: Between January and March 2014, 181 accredited PA programs received a mailed survey inquiring about their sexual health curriculum.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The survey assessed general sexual health topics; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) topics; teaching methods; and the amount of time spent on sexual health education.

RESULTS: A total of 106 programs responded (59%). Ten programs offered a required, discrete course on human sexuality. The majority incorporated training into other coursework, which is consistent with most medical schools. LGBT topics were covered less thoroughly than the general sexual health topics. Total amount of time spent on sexual health topics varied widely among programs, from a minimum of 2-4 hours to a maximum of 60 hours, with a median of 12 hours.

CONCLUSIONS: PA programs in the United States appear to compare favorably with the training offered to medical students in regard to time spent on sexual health education. Transgender issues were least well-covered of all the topics queried.

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