IMA launches initiative to sensitise doctors on patients' sexual health

PTI Jun 13, 2018

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has launched a nationwide movement to eradicate the social taboo associated with sexual health and to sensitise doctors about how to respond to matters pertaining to a patient's sexual health.


Due to the taboos associated with the subject of sexual health, people do not speak about it. But, they can overcome such health issues if they get proper treatment at the right time, IMA said in a statement while launching the initiative on June 10. IMA national president Dr Ravi Wankhedkar said with this programme, they would try to sensitise the medical practitioners on the issue.

"Sex is still a taboo subject and doctors across the country need to break the barriers and clinical inertias by asking patients about their sex lives," he said. Maharashtra's Additional Director General of Police R K Padmanabhan said, "It (sexual health) is not only a medical issue but also a social issue and in view of the increase in cases of sexual violence, it is important to educate the younger generation to dispel the taboos associated with this subject." Renowned ophthalmologist and Padma Shri awardee Dr T P Lahane hailed the initiative as a positive step.

Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, the IMA national president, stressed the importance of the initiative and said that sex still being a taboo, doctors across India needed to break all the barriers and clinical inertias. This is the first-of-its-kind initiative launched by the IMA for over three-and-a-half lakh doctors to motivate them to dispel the taboo associated with this subject.

Education must be imparted at school to dispel the taboo associated with this subject. Increasing awareness among schools and colleges by various means will also be a part of this agenda. The plan of action of this initiative is to hold pan-India educational programmes and also adopt schools and colleges to educate one and all -- students, teachers and parents -- by holding lectures, seminars, symposia, conferences and dialogues.

Plans are also afoot to hold fellowship course and national conferences. "IMA also proposed a plan of action to increase the awareness amongst the medical fraternity to change their mindset and attitude towards the taboo subject of sexual health, Wankhedkar said.

As a pilot project, a 12-month fellowship programme in clinical sexology has also been started for doctors who are MD and above and proposes to start similar courses for MBBS doctors with at least 5 years of experience. An e-bulletin has also been planned to be released that will contain all the necessary information about the various events related to sexual health all over the country and abroad, carrying the basics of sexual history taking and counselling tips.

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