Direct approach is best for sexual questions

Given that most, if not all, of the clinical staff members in sexual health clinics and primary care have had more sex than the young clientele has had cooked meals, it surprises me that there is any hesitancy in approaching the issue of sexual history taking ('Chlamydia tests need to be destigmatised, GP, 30 May).

If we are embarrassed, the client will end up being embarrassed too.

My own experience has been that if you open any topic in plain English and directly you will usually get a truthful, or at least credible, reply - how many partners have you had since your last STD screen? Age at first ever intercourse? Number of other partners whilst married? Anal intercourse? Group sex? Same-sex encounters? Try it.

Every GP with an average list will have a handful of past, current or future sex workers, even in the 'nicest' boroughs. Do you know who your prostitutes are?

Try asking; they usually welcome the chance to cover issues of concern and you could do a great deal of good for them, quite apart from STD considerations.

Dr Steven Ford, Haydon Bridge, Northumberland.

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