Does Your Doctor Know About Your Sexuality?

By OckyDub | Posted Jun 17 2014 | 17 Comments  

DoctorDoes 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;

So what about you? Does your doctor know about your sexuality? Why or why not?

About the Author

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

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17 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. LEE B | June 17th, 2014

    Good post man! It’s definitely important for gay men to discus these things, Especially if it’s your main doctor.

  2. Richard | June 17th, 2014

    I think my doctor figured it out on his own though he never asked and I never told him. The problem with my doctor is that every symptom I have is a precursor to HIV/AIDs. He seems to be counting down the days until tests come back positive. Only If the poor dude knew I’m still a virgin, front and back.

    • Ocky Williams | June 17th, 2014

      “The problem with my doctor is that every symptom I have is a precursor to HIV/AIDs.”

      What does he say to make you think that or what in the conversation makes you feel this way?

      • Richard | June 17th, 2014

        Well I’m constantly asked to test for HIV after I informed him that I am sexually inactive. For example, I had a stomach bleed due to tylenol usage, he asked me about anal fissions and rectal tearing. At times he acts uncomfortable to touch me. I also get the “dating” and “girlfriend” questions, and he constantly expresses how he adores women.

        • Rhode | June 17th, 2014

          Time for new caregiver.

  3. African King | June 17th, 2014

    I understand where people are coming from here. But I do feel that it is important for gay men to understand that their sexuality is something that will be held in confidence between himself and his primary care physician (PCP). The PCP is obligated by HIPAA to respect his/her patient. Student doctors and current doctors are learning more about how important it is to handle patients with care who may be a part of the LGBT community and those affected by HIV for example.

    • Dreamwalker
      Equilibrium | June 17th, 2014

      …but don’t forget doctors are still human beings that are capable of the same biases and prejudices as everyone else. It’s nice to assume that most professions that involve public trust (cops, teachers, judges, politicians) are always fair and impartial but we know its not true. Being gay doesn’t make my anatomy or physiology different from a str8 guys.

      • LEE B | June 17th, 2014

        True thier can be bias and your bizz is your bizz. Keep in mind though that doctors can be sued easily for making information about a patient public knowledge without the consent of that patient. And you are right that your anatomy is the same as a striaght man, but becuase you are a man that has sex with men, you have different risk factors, and that’s just being real.

        • ControlledXaos | June 17th, 2014

          If a doctor is anti gay or whatever, then find a new doctor. That simple. People have a hard time finding new doctors because they feel some kine of obligation to stay with so and so because they’ve been your doctor for years and years but insurance policies and relcations all alter that. It’s okay to shop around for a doctor just like you shop around for cars and electronics.

          HIPPA laws are no joke and I don’t think any doctor wants to risk their career over dispelling someone’s health issues.

          That being said, yes. Doctors are just like anyone else, they just have been to school longer than most of us. At the end of the day, they still take drugs, smoke, watch porn, cheat on their wives, read comic books, travel the world etc. People give doctors this super prestige but seriously, all that stuff they have to know for school… they cheat on exams and take adderall with the best of them to get through and to pass the exams and boards, so keep that in mind.

          Most of the things they do know, they learn in practice. That’s why they always say they ‘practice’ medicine. They never master it.

          And i’m not bashing doctors at all here, I’m just saying people need to know they are just regular folks.

  4. Rhode | June 17th, 2014

    My doctor knows and I am comfortable with him knowing.

  5. budda | June 18th, 2014

    My regular doctor just happens to be a lesbian. She is the best doctor I have ever had. She knows my sexuality. We have honest talks so that she can better treat me. We are open with each other and I trust her completely.

  6. Rod Turpin
    Rod! | June 18th, 2014

    My doctor does, and if I thought for a second that he would be any degree of judgemental, I would find another doctor. I’m a medical microbiologist (I specialize in diagnosing infection and doing work with treatment and such), and I cannot tell you how many times knowing just a small detail about a patient’s personal life has impacted one of my patient’s cases in a remarkable way. In the average patient I’ve seen on STI and HIV consults, knowing sexuality makes a huge difference in how you advise them. And I’ve even had a couple more serious patient cases where knowing their sexuality actually made the difference between life and either severe morbidity or death (I promise, I am not exaggerating that in any way).

    Your doctor absolutely needs all the fine details, even if they seem insignificant. And if you think your doctor can’t handle it, I would recommend just asking and being up front with your concerns; most are more accepting than you’d think. And if they really do take issue, or you’re genuinely too uncomfortable to address it, find a doctor who you can be more comfortable with. Nowadays there are more and more LGBT doctors (mine being one of them). Just find someone you can be honest and open with, its absolutely critical to your health.

  7. SwagJack
    SwagJack | June 18th, 2014

    Absolutely. My doctor is actually the first person I revealed my bisexuality to. I feel it’s very important to have this conversation with your primary care physician. He was the one who actually advised me to get the Hepatitis A and B vaccines. I knew nothing about that until I told him. We have full disclosure and I don’t feel any kind of way about it. He keeps me informed and in a better position to make healthy life choices. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

  8. mikeyllo
    Michael R. | June 19th, 2014

    I used to be uncomfortable with this when I was younger and my doctor had ties to other family members, friends and acquaintances, but as I’ve gotten older, I believe it’s important to be able to have open and honest conversations with my doctor in order to ensure I receive the best care for my specific needs. One-size-fits-all healthcare may not be right for me, so I want specialized care that addresses my activities. The questions can be uncomfortable (do you use condoms during oral? every time? how many current partners?) but it’s necessary if I’m going to be educated about the various health issues and risks that may effect me based on my sexuality.

  9. Sage
    Sage | June 23rd, 2014

    It was surprisingly easy to discuss my sexuality with my doctor. Perhaps it was her matter-of-fact manner in asking me questions that made me realize that was asking to help keep me healthy rather than to judge my orientation or behaviors. My doctor is pretty thorough, so we have few secrets in the examining room.

  10. christopher | July 12th, 2014

    Yeah she knows. The first doctor I saw when I moved here was, how do I put it, not gay friendly. When I told him I wanted all my yearly tests and why he told me I could put my shirt back on and he excused himself from the room. His facial expression told the story. After I got the test results back I changed doctors.

  11. Chuck Woolley | August 29th, 2014

    I have had 4 Doctors, since completing my military service. One in each State I have lived in…..Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and now Illinois. I didn’t tell any of them I was gay. I understand, what was written above, about things that afflict gay men. I have been fortunate, that I have never caught an STI/STD. If I ever felt a male/female Doctor treated me differently, because of my sexuality, then I would not hesitate to find a new health care provider.

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