In 2011, both the National Prevention Strategy and Healthy People 2020 recognized “reproductive and sexual health” as a key area for improving the lives of Americans. This increasing national emphasis on sexual health provides an important opportunity to refocus the efforts of U.S. health-care professionals.

Sexually transmitted diseases are a particular problem for minorities, women, and adolescents. In 2015, African Americans accounted for 45% of new HIV diagnoses. The chlamydia rate was 5.4 times higher among Black women compared to white women; the gonorrhea rate was 9.6 times higher among Blacks versus whites.

We examine how medical providers discuss sexual health with their patients and provide recommendations on how they can provide holistic sexual health care.