Don't blame GPs on sexual infections
In your news report headlined 'GPs not treating sex infections' (April 28), Professor Michael Adler, chair of the Department of Health sexual health and HIV strategy steering group, commented that GPs were inadequate at treating STIs. We were taught at medical school (in my case by Professor Adler!) that many organisms which are transmitted sexually are very fragile and will die on their way from the surgery to the laboratory, although some, such as chlamydia, may make it if placed in suitable transport medium. Others may give clues (!) in the cells that are seen.
Patients are reluctant to 'reveal all' to their GP, who is usually caring for the whole family. They trust us with confidential information, but I think are often less forthcoming in admitting to their GP to having had sex outside their normal relationship than they are a clinic. And maybe GPs are less good at asking because we all want to play happy families. So please don't wave that stick at us Professor Adler and instead encourage increased provision of GUM clinics.
Dr Diana Lowry