Andrew Y Finlay
Professor of Dermatology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Skin disease can have a major effect on many aspects of the people’s lives. This includes impact on work, family life, sport and social activities. There may also be a profound effect on close personal relationships and on the sexual lives of patients. There are several ways in which skin disease may interfere with sexual life: having inflammatory skin disease over the body may make it more difficult to find an understanding partner, and the disease may be itchy or unsightly making sexual activity less satisfying. If the skin disease directly affects the genital area, discomfort or embarrassment may inhibit or even prevent sexual activity.
There have been many attempts to quantify the impact of skin disease on sexual life, including the use of quality of life measures specific to sexual activity or to skin diseases. One of the questions in the 10-question Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) asks about the impact of skin disease on sexual life: analysis of the answers to this question in a study of 3,485 patients across Europe revealed that 23% experienced sexual problems. The impairment was particularly high in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa, prurigo, blistering disorders and psoriasis, and was strongly associated with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.
Many dermatologists do not ask about and hence do not know about this aspect of skin disease, an aspect that many patients may be reluctant to raise in dermatology consultations. There may be therapy that can be targeted at genital skin disease and counselling over how to manage skin disease in personal relationships may also contribute to patient well-being. It is therefore important that dermatologists receive training in how to most appropriately and effectively include such considerations in routine clinical practice.
34 IUSTI Congress - European Congres on Sexually transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
TAMING THE TIDE of STIs & HIV
Bucharest, September 3-5,