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Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute

Communication about Sexuality in COPD (COSY)

Human sexuality is a universal part of living and a determinant of quality of life also in elderly people with a chronic illness like COPD. It is time to start communication about sexuality and to address the topic in practice and research.

We recently reported on our development of a COPD specific communication instrument called COSY (COmmunication about SexualitY in COPD) to overcome the communication barriers (publication accepted 2023 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation JCOPDF). The COSY instrument consists of four tools: A communication leaflet for health care professionals, an application guidance, a pictorial representation of the spectrum of intimacy for health care professionals and an attractive patient information booklet. These tools are available for free in several languages and can be used for practice and research:

While both patients and health care professionals welcomed the COSY instrument, there is no evidence available yet if it supports communication about sexuality and ultimately positively influences quality of life of people with COPD and other outcomes like physical activity.

To close this knowledge gap, we initiated further project called Holistic wellbeing in COPD: The communication about Sexuality (COSY) – a randomized controlled trial

Our hypothesis is that the COSY intervention that specifically addresses sexuality improves holistic wellbeing and quality of life in persons living with COPD compared to no intervention, and that linking sexual activity with physical activity increases adherence for long-term physical activity and other patient-relevant outcomes.

The overall objective of this project is to assess the effectiveness of a communication intervention about sexuality on quality of life and other outcomes like physical activity, exercise capacity and health status in people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

For further information: E-Mail


  • Steurer-Stey C, Dalla Lana K, Strassmann A, et al. Development of a communication instrument to address sexuality in COPD: COSY. Chronic Obstr Pulm Dis. 2023; 10(2): 148-158. doi:

Weiterführende Informationen


Claudia Steurer-Stey (Project Leader)
Julia Braun
Anja Frei
Thomas Radtke
Kaba Dalla Lana


Lungenliga Schweiz, Verein Lunge Zürich, Astra Zeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, OM-Pharma