New primary care practice in Pennsylvania catering to the LGBT community

new practice in PAFrom

Bethlehem resident Allen Smith was in his 40s before he felt comfortable telling his doctor he was gay. And when he worked for 10 years at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s AIDS Activities Office in Allentown, most of the patients he saw also lacked primary care physicians they were open with. It’s a trend Smith hopes to help end. After working for more than three years, he’s opened a primary care practice in Bethlehem especially to provide medical care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Smith’s Novus Adult Care Services is the third primary care practice in Pennsylvania catering to the LGBT community, Equality Pennsylvania President Adrian Shankersaid. A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listing shows only 13 such practices nationwide. “With any underserved population, sometimes there are needs that aren’t met by general practice health centers,” said Shanker, a Bethlehem resident. “It’s important for people to see a doctor you feel comfortable being out with.”

In addition to serving as a medical office where patients feel comfortable disclosing their sexuality, LGBT specialty providers also are better versed in health concerns specific to the community, including HIV and AIDS and transgender issues, Smith said.

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