Sexual health counselling by Dutch HIV care providers: A cross-sectional survey among physicians and nurses in the Netherlands

Suzanne de Munnik*, Sigrid C.J.M. Vervoort, Liza Kraan, Heidi S.M. Ammerlaan, Lorena A. Grondhuis Palacio, Gerjo Kok, Henk W. Elzevier, John de Wit, Chantal den Daas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To improve sexual health among people living with HIV, sexual health should be addressed during consultations in routine HIV care. The aim of the present study was to investigate to what extent Sexual Health Counselling (SHC) is incorporated into routine Dutch HIV care and to explore differences between physicians and nurses in their practices and views regarding SHC. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among all HIV physicians (N=110) and HIV nurses (N=82) in the Netherlands. A questionnaire assessed socio-demographic characteristics, current SHC practice, topics addressed, and factors associated with engaging in SHC. The response rate was 53.6% (N=59) among physicians and 60.0% (N=40) among nurses. SHC was performed by 26.1% of physicians and 83.9% of nurses (Χ² (1) = 27.68, p<.001). The most frequently reported barrier for SHC was the presence of a third party, endorsed by 50.9% of physicians and 60.4% of nurses. Nurses were more likely to address issues related to sexual wellbeing, while physicians mainly discussed medical topics. While, both HIV physicians and nursed felt responsible for providing SHC, nurses were more likely to address SHC that physicians. There is scope for improving SHC for PLHIV through a multidisciplinary approach based on clear guidelines for physicians and nurses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number734-740
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number6
Early online date28 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

We thank all physicians and nurses who participated in the pilot test or the survey.


  • healthcare providers
  • patient provider interaction
  • People living with HIV
  • sexual health counselling


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