Culturally Safe Sexual Health


7 P’s of Taking a Safe Sexual Health History

Taking a sexual health history is when a physician asks details regarding a person’s sexual past, present, and practices. As a healthcare professional, please consider these 7 suggestions when taking a sexual history from a patient. It is essential to ensure the sexual health history being taken is culturally safe for your patient!

This is especially true for members of minority groups who may face judgement/discrimination related to their identity or sexual history.

1. Permissions & 2. Pronouns

Ensure there is consent prior to beginning. Ask what your patient’s preferred pronouns are and what their gender identity is.

3. Practices

It may be appropriate to discuss harm reduction strategies and support services depending on the information disclosed. Ask the patient if they need assistance accessing support.

4. Partners

Do not assume a person’s sexual orientation based on their practices or vice versa about their partner(s). It is important to ask questions regarding their sexual partners history as well.

“What do they identify as? Are you in a relationship with them? Do you feel safe in this relationship?”

5. Protection

Remember that protection is relevant during intercourse – talking about harm reduction strategies is key. Important to recommend various forms of protection curated towards the patient’s specific needs. Important to consider protection for both pregnancy and STIs.

6. Past History

Discuss that positive test results are required to be reported to Public Health and that anonymous testing is available as well. Partners should also be tested and treated for STBBIs (sexually transmissible and blood-borne infections).

7. Pregnancy

This could be an opportunity for education on pregnancy and/or contraception. Ask if the patient is currently pregnant and if they are using contraception.

Culturally safe sexual health. BIPOC Women’s Health Network. (2023).

Reno, H., Park, I., Workowski, K., Machefsky, A., & Bachmann, L. (2023). A guide to taking a sexual history.

Taking a culturally safe sexual history. BIPOC Women’s Health Network. (2023).,ast%20History%2C%20and%20Pregnancy.

Wong, A., & Watson, C. (2023, September 14). BHPN launches first Black Health Professionals Directory in Ontario. BHPN.

Visit the Black Healthcare Professionals Network today to find a clinician near you!