At least 5% of all males in the USA have sex with other men. Many of us identify as gay, bisexual, and heterosexual. THAT’S A WHOLE LOT OF GUYS!!!
Lets face it, most Medical practices do not facilitate the discussion of sexual behaviors AT ALL, much less variations on the “majority.”
Just as an example, 40% of men that have sex with men develop major depression during their lifetime, (that’s about double the number of their peers).
Sexual minority youth are twice as likely as other men to be smokers, use more “club drugs”, and are 2x more likely to have considered suicide.
Why the increased prevalence of depression and “self harming behaviors” even exists is the topic of another article about discrimination, hatred, and internalized homophobia.
If we fail to address issues that impact our community disproportionately, we are failing each other in achieving our “healthier evolution.”
To my Medical Colleagues I say arm yourselves with compassionate knowledge about the LBGT patients that are most certainly in your practices today and everyday.
Screen for depression and other psychological issues, inquire about substance use, safer sex practices, condom use, multiple partners, possible sexually transmitted disease exposure. Test and treat pre and post possible HIV exposure with newer protocols that can prevent HIV transmission to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
Finally, if for some reason you are not comfortable with these issues, please do us a favor and refer the patient to a culturally sensitive and competent provider.
The next blog post will be about PREP (HIV prevention, the good news!!!).
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