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    Everything doctors need to know about patient sexual orientation, gender identity

     

    Futterman notes that a patient can be at the beginnings of their LGBT journey or still not out to family members, and that can lead to them being less than truthful with their physicians.

     

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    “We recently had a young person who is gay and felt his parents were anti-gay, so he did not want to disclose to them that he was gay but was engaging in high-risk sexual experiences with other men and definitely was a candidate for PrEP, a prevention pill for HIV,” she says. “The problem was he couldn’t afford to take it because he was on his parent’s insurance and didn’t want them to know, so didn’t tell his doctor.”

    That’s why establishing a safe connection between doctor and patient is so important.

    Setting the Scene

    A welcoming environment can encourage a patient to voluntarily give a doctor information without the need to even ask for it. Mencias says physicians and other clinicians can do many things to create a welcoming environment for all patients.

     

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    “Examples include LGBT flags in front of a doctor’s office, gender neutral and gender-specific bathrooms, as well as displaying company/clinic/organization brochures and packets that say you are LGBT friendly and highlight how you profile culturally sensitive, compassionate care,” he says.

    Physicians who can affirm they are an LGBT friendly provider or an LGBT expert can go a long way toward putting a patient at ease and building a meaningful relationship.

    Keith Loria
    Keith Loria is a contributing writer to Medical Economics.

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