A Faribault High School graduate who went on to be a doctor hopes his new book can help military service members who have had sexual health issues.
Dr. Drew A. Helmer, M.D., M.S., graduated from Faribault High School in 1988 and published his first book, “Sex After Service: A Guide for Military Service Members, Veterans, and the People Who Love Them,” in December 2014.
Helmer is an internist and primary care physician who has assisted many veterans with their sexual health concerns and learned how best to talk about and find solutions within and outside of the healthcare system. Helmer is also the director of the War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center in New Jersey and associate professor of medicine at Rutgers University-New Jersey Medical School.
Helmer was invited to write the book by the publisher Rowman & Littlefield, who was familiar with his research in the area after Helmer published articles related to sexual health in recent combat veterans.
“I was taking care of veterans in a VA setting and found myself prescribing a lot of Viagra and Levitra to men in their 20s,” Helmer said. “I thought, ‘there’s something wrong with this,’ so I began talking to colleagues and patients more.”
That launched Helmer’s inquiry into the sexual health of recent combat veterans, which led to more general concerns, not just those regarding recent combat veterans. The book is basically a culmination of what Helmer learned about the sexual health of veterans and how combat or military service might affect that aspect of their lives.
Helmer said it was a very real experience as people were telling him about their issues relating to sexual health.
“It’s important for patients to know the cause of any problems they may have and where to go to get help,” Helmer said. “That’s really what I hope the book does. It’s written for a general audience.”
Helmer has gotten positive feedback about the book thus far and said those who have read it say it’s easy to understand.
According to Helmer, the book talks about a range of sexual health issues, but focuses primarily on what are more common or mundane problems.
Helmer wanted to use stories and real examples of people who have sexual health issues related to military service as he was writing the book.
“Some of the more engaging stories are when members come home from deployment and their spouse is also affected by sexual health issues,” Helmer said. “There can be two people caught in that challenge. It’s part of reintegration.”
“Sex After Service: A Guide for Military Service Members, Veterans, and the People Who Love Them” can be found on www.amazon.com at www.amazon.com/Sex-after-Service-Military-Veterans/dp/1442230568.