Does your doctor know about your sexuality? Speaking for myself; my thought is, “why wouldn’t he, he’s my doctor“? However as many studies suggest, this is not the case for many gay men. Some gay men are embarrassed, feel its too personal, feel their health care provider wouldn’t understand or feel they may be rejected. I have personally been told in the past by an acquaintance that he is uncomfortable discussing his sexuality with his doctor because his doctor is African American. It may not seem like it but this is a serious issue. As one provider (Dr. Mark Thoma, MD) stated “LGBTQ patients may have some diseases that aren’t seen as commonly in the remaining 90-95% of the population. Not just HIV/AIDS, but other diseases as well, like anal cancer or meningitis.”
Some research has suggested that honest communication with your healthcare provider can improve your sexual health. Patients who discussed their sexuality with their doctors were more likely to use condoms and are more educated concerning HIV and STI’s. They are also more likely to be prescribed preventative medications like Truvada or PrEP.
Do your research and attempt to locate a health care provider that is knowledgeable and sensitive to LGBT concerns and needs. Some valuable resources to start with include;
- GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality – http://www.glma.org
- The National LGBT Health Education Center – http://www.lgbthealtheducation.org
- Gay Mens Health Crisis – http://www.gmhc.org
So what about you? Does your doctor know about your sexuality? Why or why not?