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Sexual dysfunction in Assyrian/Syrian immigrants and Swedish-born persons with type 2 diabetes

Marina Taloyan12*, Alexandre Wajngot3, Sven-Erik Johansson13, Jonas Tovi3 and Kristina Sundquist1

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Primary Health Care Research, Region Skåne/Lund University, CRC, hus 28, plan 11, Jan Waldenströms gata 35, SUS, 205 02 Malmö, Sweden

2 Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, SE −106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

3 Karolinska Institutet, Center for Family and Community Medicine, Alfred Nobels allé 12, SE −141 83 Huddinge, Sweden

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:522  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-522

Published: 24 September 2012



Few studies have investigated sexual dysfunction in immigrant patients with type 2 diabetes in Sweden. The aim of this study was to examine the association between ethnicity and sexual dysfunction and to analyze if this association remains after adjusting for explanatory variables including age, marital status, HbA1c, triglycerides, and hypertension. This cross-sectional study was conducted at four primary health care centers in the Swedish town of Södertälje. A total of 354 persons with type 2 diabetes (173 Assyrians/Syrians and 181 Swedish-born patients) participated in the survey. The main outcome measure was the self-reported presence of sexual dysfunction based on two questions, one regarding loss of ability to have sexual intercourse and the other loss of sexual desire. Response rates were 78% and 86%, respectively.


The total prevalence of loss of ability to have intercourse was 29.5%. In the multivariate models, the odds of loss of ability to have intercourse was significantly higher in the oldest age group (OR = 5.80; 95% CI, 2.33–14.40), in men (OR = 3.33; 95% CI, 1.33–8.30), and in unmarried individuals (OR = 2.40; 95% CI, 1.02–5.70). The odds of reporting loss of sexual desire was higher in Assyrians/Syrians than in Swedish-born patients and increased from 2.00 in the age- and gender-adjusted model to 2.70 in the fully adjusted model when all confounders were taken into account.


Sexual dysfunction appears to be more common in Assyrians/Syrians than in Swedish-born patients. Health care workers should actively ask about sexual function in their patients with type 2 diabetes.

Sexual dysfunction; Diabetes type 2; Immigrants; Sweden