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Author Topic: does your doc know?
alaska
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...about your sexual orientation and behaviour?

Yahoo reports this today:

quote:
A new survey of primarily gay, lesbian, and bisexual men and women has found that although more than 40% visit their doctor more than once a year, about 35% of men and 45% of women say their physicians have never asked them about their sexual behavior or history.

``Whether you're homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, doctors should absolutely be inquiring about sexual practice and discussing STDs. But it's not happening and it's not getting better, and it has to change,'' said Dr. Stephen Goldstone, the medical director of GayHealth.com, the Web site that conducted the survey.

[...]

Survey results showed that 22% of the men and 30% of the women said their doctors ``rarely'' ask them about their sexual practices. Almost 25% of men and 16% of women said the topic arises only when they bring it up themselves.

Among the men, 40% said they had not been vaccinated for either hepatitis A or B--two liver infections for which gay men are at high risk.

Men said that after HIV (news - web sites)/AIDS (news - web sites), the health topic that concerned them most was depression, followed by other sexually transmitted diseases. More than 40% said they had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety at one time.

Depression also topped the list of the biggest health concerns among women, with more than half saying they had been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression at some point.

Goldstone expressed little surprise at the survey results.

``There is a reticence to talk about sexual practice because gays and lesbians have met tremendous homophobia from the medical community and society at large, and so they're afraid to disclose sexual practices,'' he said.

Goldstone suggested that patients find a physician they can turn to for answers and trust. And he urged physicians to offer total patient care by initiating a frank sexual discussion.

``If doctors simply ask a patient about their sexual preference it opens a dialogue,'' he said. ``It shows you care and you're interested, in addition to taking a thorough history. If a doctor would ask, it would show them that it's safe to talk, so a patient can say 'Hey, I'm having trouble'.''


Apart from the fact that I think one should be discussing STDs with ones doc NO MATTER what orientation one is; I think they make a good point here. I remember reading for example, that many non-straight women rarely get Pap smears, simply because they don't get regular gynecological check ups (no need for contraception, right?) and didn't get checks for HPV either.

So does your doc know? Do you think it's important that (s)he knows?

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Caro
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"We must become the change we want to see."
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Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rambler
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My doctor doesn't know, but I am pretty sure that I have been asked by most of my doctors if I am sexually active. This is probably because at one point I was put onto the Pill for medical reasons and so various doctors knew about it and whatever. At the very least I've been asked by the gynecologist who I went to down here (I'm living away from home right now) when I had a UTI, and he was very easy to talk to, as was his nurse.

Now, I'm bi, and I have always asked them what qualifies as being sexually active and they say penis-in-vagina sex. I haven't had a girlfriend because two of my big crushes fell through *sigh* but I think it's disturbing and a little dangerous for them to make that little qualification just because it puts their lesbian patients in an awkward situation--they are obviously going to become sexually active, and I'd certainly be as well if I had a girlfriend, but that would not be "counted" or whatever. Is this making sense? Therefore, does the lesbian say "Yes I have" or "No I haven't" to avoid something embarrassing, and how does that change how the doctor goes about considering various illnesses or checking for STDs?

It's bothersome...

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rambler
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Rizzo
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Bah, it is bothersome. When I was 14 (and thought I was entirely lesbian) my doctor asked if I had a boyfriend. Of course not, I felt like saying. It's so bad to make assumptions like that. Just because I didn't have a boyfriend didn't mean I wasn't at risk for STDs. For all she knew, I could have had multiple male or female partners, but not had a bf at that time.

When I was 18, my doctor asked if I was sexually active. I told her I hadn't "had sex". That seemed good enough for her, even though I had engaged in oral sex. It bothers me when people ask the wrong question for what they really need to know (e.g. asking if you're gay before you give blood...)


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Gaffer
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Actually, no. I'm fifteen and not only has my doctor not asked, he hasn't even vaguely gone into the nether realm that is my private life. I don't think I'd be comfortable talking to him about such things anyway becuase he's really not someone I like.

I should probably get a new doctor, this one let's my mum and sis stay in the room 'til he has to do a testicular examination (then kicks 'em out)--I think I would rather my family didn't come in at all. Whoa, I need to talk to my mom about this now. I never even knew I wasn't comfortable with my doctor until now. Cool.


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alaska
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Stumbled over an interesting article on the special health needs and the reasons for lack of health care of lesbian women:

Lesbians And Disease - Sexual Orientation Has Widespread Effect On Health

Interesting stuff.

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 05-31-2001).]


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CuriouS GeorgE
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Does this mean that if we go to the doctors and say we've been with a member of the same sex maybe once, we have to tell them that we're bi/lesbian or that we've done that?

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CuRioUs GeoRGe


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Rizzo
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Curious George: You don't have to tell your doctor anything you don't want to, but sometimes it can help him/her give you better care. If you've had sexual contact with someone, it's a good idea to get screened and have a gynecological examination.
Posts: 582 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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