World sexual health day

Sex sells! Our everyday life is determined by media and commercials, where the topic of sex is used to sell or attract attention. Sexual health however is often kept quiet, and those affected find their problems “embarrassing” or in the worst case “wrong”. We have to change this way of thinking, says gynaecologist Dr. Aebi-Popp, who gives us an insight into the topic on todays “sexual health day”.

Sexual health is more than the absence of sexually transmitted diseases. It is about the physical and emotional components. It is crucial to feel comfortable with your sex life. The prejudices against people who supposedly do not exercise their sexuality according to “the norm”, and the stigmatisation of sexual diseases and problems, complicates open communication. “Everyone has questions about sex and dealing with their sexuality, but find it embarrassing to ask these questions,” says Dr. Aebi-Popp, gynaecologist and specialist in sexually transmitted infections. “If you put your trust in patients, and give them the opportunity to speak openly, you often experience deep gratitude.”

It is not just about the most common sexually transmitted diseases – chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea, HIV or hepatitis B, but also sexual behaviour, orientation, number of partners or use of condoms. “I generally also get a lot of questions about HPV and genital herpes. In the youth clinic, we also often address the so-called “consent”, i.e. mutual agreement to have sex,” explains the experienced doctor, who supports counselling centres and offers consultations on sexually transmitted diseases (www.get-checked.ch).

Education and open approach on the topic of sexuality is therefore crucially important. “There are various projects, such as “Achtung Liebe” [Warning: Love] where medical students offer sex education in schools. However, such initiatives are not yet widespread sufficiently,” says Dr. Aebi-Popp. From her side, only “empowerment” can lead to better handling of sexual diseases and sexuality in general. “I can only make certain decisions if I am well informed,” she says. “On the other hand, in the case of uncertainty or fear, we tend not to address problems, and simply ignore them, with the motto “close your eyes and get on with it”. That’s why it is even more important to maintain positive, respectful and above all open approach of our sexuality, and not only today on sexual health day.”

Medinova AG visited Dr. Aebi-Popp on sexual health day for a short video interview. Dr. Aebi-Popp is a gynaecologist and specialist in sexually transmitted infections and runs her clinic “get-checked” in Bern.

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