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J Trauma Stress. 2016 Jun;29(3):229-36. doi: 10.1002/jts.22097. Epub 2016 Apr 29.

Sexual Health in Male and Female Iraq and Afghanistan U. S. War Veterans With and Without PTSD: Findings From the VALOR Cohort.

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Department of Urology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Division of Epidemiology, New England Research Institutes, Watertown, Massachusetts, USA.
Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Francisco, California, USA.
VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


We sought to determine whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was associated with sexual health in returned warzone-deployed veterans from the recent Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. We studied 1,581 males and females from the Veterans After-Discharge Longitudinal Registry, a gender-balanced U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs registry of health care-seeking veterans with and without PTSD. Approximately one quarter (25.1%) of males (n = 198) and 12.7% of females (n = 101) had a sexual dysfunction diagnosis and/or prescription treatment for sexual dysfunction. Both genders were more likely to have a sexual dysfunction diagnosis and/or prescription treatment if they had PTSD compared with those without PTSD (male: 27.3% vs. 21.1%, p = .054; female: 14.9% vs. 9.4%, p = .022). Among the 1,557 subjects analyzed here, males with PTSD had similar levels of sexual activity compared to those without PTSD (71.2% vs. 75.4%, p = .22), whereas females with PTSD were less likely to be sexually active compared to females without PTSD (58.7% vs. 72.1%, p < .001). Participants with PTSD were also less likely to report sex-life satisfaction (male: 27.6% vs. 46.0%, p < .001; female: 23.0% vs. 45.7%, p < .001) compared with those without PTSD. Although PTSD was not associated with sexual dysfunction after adjusting for confounding factors, it was significantly negatively associated with sex-life satisfaction in female veterans with a prevalence ratio of .71, 95% confidence interval [.57, .90].

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