Sexual health without the stigma.
In honor of World Sexual Health Month, we encourage you to seek out the inclusive care you deserve.
While sexual health should be a priority for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, it’s still a sensitive topic. For members of the LGBTQ+ community the hesitation is worsened by the lack of inclusive sex education and doctors who are unwilling to address the concerns of LGBTQ+ patients. More than 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ adults reported postponing or avoiding medical care in the past year due to disrespect or discrimination by providers.
33% of transgender people and 48% of transgender men have delayed healthcare or avoided preventive measures (e.g., pelvic exams or STI screening) out of fear of discrimination or disrespect.
A lack of inclusive care options has made the thought of discussing your sexual health with a doctor a scary one that leaves many LGBTQ+ patients without the resources they need to deal with some of the most common sexual health issues and risks including HIV, STIs and pregnancy.
Open and honest conversations with doctors you trust are key to maintaining your health and wellbeing both within and outside of the context of sexual health. Feeling comfortable with your doctor makes it easier to stay consistent with regular checkups, screenings, testing and vaccinations.
It’s important that you’re able to have conversations about your sexual health with your healthcare providers.
Everyone, regardless of sexuality, should be able to speak candidly with their doctor about safe sex practices. These conversations may be awkward at first but are more than worth protecting the health and well-being of you and your sexual partners.
Preventative care practices like regular testing and exploring options like PrEP can help mitigate the risks that come with being sexually active. In many cases, STIs are symptomless and the only way to get the treatment you need is to stay on top of being tested.
Some of us are comfortable talking about our sexual health while, for others, sex and sexuality are more difficult to address. No matter what, you deserve care that honors who you are and makes you feel safe.
There are many steps you can take to better manage your sexual health:
- Find an affirming doctor who respects your identity and won’t stigmatize or judge you for your sexual history.
- Stay up-to-date on annual checkups and testing for STIs. Share your results with your partner(s) if you’re sexually active.
- Ask your provider if birth control and/or STI/HIV prevention medications like PrEP may be right for you.
- Get connected with a LGBTQ+ support groups and other community resources.
You deserve respectful, affirming care that works for you. At Included Health, we’re here every day with expert and caring support that can connect you to inclusive doctors, support groups, and other resources for caring for your sexual health.
Included Health is HIPAA-compliant, which means your information is kept private.