What is a sexual health doctor?

A sexual health doctor is a GP who specialises in the management of sexual problems.

There are several main areas of sexual health. The first relates to sexually transmitted disease and these doctors are usually infectious disease specialists. The next area of sexual health is more related to relationship and intercourse problems. Finally family planning, contraception is a third area of sexual health. Clearly the approach to investigation and management of each area is significantly different. Many centres have expertise in all areas, whilst others superspecialise.

What to expect at an appointment with a sexual health doctor


If you suspect a sexually transmitted disease your doctor will ask about your symptoms, your risk factors, partners and sexual practices. They may ask about other medical problems, previous treatment, allergies and social history as well.

If you are a man with impotence your doctor will ask about the specific problem in detail. Other medical problems may well be relevant and are usually discussed. Medications can be relevant to impotence as well.

Similarly if you are a woman with sexual problems your doctor will ask about the problem, its development and how it affects your life. Past medical problems, medications and obstetric and gynaecological history are also important.
If you are seeing the specialist about a family planning issue and contraception issue the history will focus on that.


It is likely your doctor will perform a brief general examination followed by a more detailed genital examination. In a woman an internal vaginal examination including examination with a speculum is usually performed unless there are contraindications.

Medical conditions sexual health GPs treat

  • Infectious sexually transmitted diseases
  • Herpes
  • Genital warts
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonhoroea
  • Urethritis
  • Trichomonas
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Pubic lice
  • HIV (human immunodeficiancy virus)
  • AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)
  • Donovanosis
  • Lymphogranuloma inguinale
  • Syphilis
  • Family planning
  • Contraception
  • Pregnancy termination (abortion)
  • Cervical cancer and pap smears
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Impotence
  • Failure to achieve orgasm
  • Pain on intercourse

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Specialty areas of interest

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Relationship and sexual performance
  • Impotence
  • Family planning and contraception
  • Termination of pregnancy

Associated tests

  • For sexually transmitted disease
  • Genital swabs
  • Penile for men
  • From the urethra, vagina and cervix for women
  • Urine tests for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing for chlamydia
  • Pregnancy testing


  • Most sexually transmitted diseases are treated with antibiotics or antivirals. Warts may have cryothrapy (frozen off) or laser therapy.
  • Impotence may be treated with medications taken in several different ways, each with its own advantage. These include tablets, nasal spays and penile injections.
  • Relationship and sexual performance probelms are often treated with counselling and advice.
  • Insertion and advice on various contraceptive devices. These include IUCDs (intrauterine contraceptive devices), hormone injections (depot and slow release preparations) and hormonal implants.

Training and qualifications



This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.

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