LGBT invisibility in health care

From the Huffington Post…

Until very recently, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have been invisible in health care. Most providers do not ask about sexual orientation or gender identity, nor are they trained in the unique health care needs of LGBT people or the health disparities they experience. Many LGBT patients are not “out” to their providers; as a result, they are not screened for issues that may disproportionately affect LGBT people. Moreover, sexual orientation isn’t just about identity. For example, a recent study found that nearly 10 percent of men who identified as straight had had sex with another man in the past year — and these men were less likely to use condoms than men who identified as gay. This underscores the need to ask questions about sexual behavior as well as sexual identity.

[…]Asking about sexual orientation and gender identity in clinical settings is a critical step that will enhance our knowledge of LGBT population health and improve patient-provider interactions. There are important health reasons to ask about sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, providers who know that a patient is a sexually active gay man can warn him about a recent syphilis outbreak and test him for sexually transmitted infections more common among gay men.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

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