How should your doctor ask about your sexual orientation?
What is the least awkward way for your doctor to learn that you are gay? I work in medicine. I want my clinic to serve everyone better, but our doctor seems to assume everyone is straight.
Just tell them not to assume that an anal problem is because of getting screwed.
"Do you primarily sleep with men, women or both?" while filling out your initial patient info.
Do you like the hole, the pole, or both?
I told my doctor many years ago and he told me that one time he put down HMS in the patient's file and some other doctor asked the patient if he went to Harvard Medical School.
when you fill out the initial info.. under birth control used just put: gayness
Why not when the doctor first sees you & you have to fill out all those forms, have a box to identify if you are gay, bi or straight. It would have to have a caveat listed that you are not required to answer, but those who want to identify can. For me, I bring my partner to all Dr. appointments & introduce him as my partner.
What r2 said. I had that question on an intake form once once, but I live in a liberal urban setting. Where is your office, OP?
Are you sexually active? With men, women, or both?
I always create a box and check it then write gay and partnered next to it.
I ask then ask the staff why there a way to acknowledge being gay on the form.
I will not be ignored, Dan!
The form my doctor uses asks "Are you now, or have you ever been, a practicing homosexual?"
Wow, I swear I am not drunk....
[quote]Do you primarily sleep with men, women or both?
Some guys sleep with their cat or dog. It's not the sleeping part that's important.
[quote]Are you now, or have you ever been, a practicing homosexual?
Practicing? After all this time, it doesn't involve practice. I already know what to do and could teach.
r6, that is an awful question because most men who have sex with men do not identify as gay or bisexual. The better question asks if the patient has had sex with males, females, both, or neither in the last four years. Men are more likely to be candid about the gender of their partners that to appropriate a gay or bisexual identity to themselves.
What the fuck does it matter, OP? My doctor doesn't know I'm gay, and since my state (Virginia) encourages doctors to ask everyone if they'd like an HIV test whenever they get bloodwork, there's really no reason to tell. I can think of very few instances in which one's sexuality is relevant to a doctor visit.
That's because pregnancy is obviously not an issue for you, R14.
I should think there would be any number of gay men who would just as soon not be identified as gay in their medical records...
It's relevant when you get an STD screening, R14. If they know you're gay, and partake in bottomimg, they'll swab your asshole and check for cooties there. If they think you're straight they skip that part. So you could be carrying chlamydia back there and not even know it.
When he strikes one knee with his tendon hammer and both your knees violently lock into a spread-eagle position, he may simply ask why you're now on your back---but secretly he knows.
Discreetly. Have a nurse walk the hall outside the examining room with a tray of freshly-baked cookies.
For male patients, ask them "Who was Liza Minnelli's first husband?"
Those answering correctly can be marked with a "G" in their patient file.
I don't think it should be asked. My doctor wouldn't have me for a patient if he knew I were gay. I don't have health insurance and I'm afraid no other doctor would see me.
I'm with R14. I'm out, my doctor's totally gay-friendly, but I don't see how the subject would come up. What does it have to do with my sinus infection?
If it's relevant to something, I won't hesitate to tell him, but otherwise why is it important? It would be like telling him my salary.
[quote] I bring my partner to all Dr. appointments
All of them, R6? Why?
r23, how do you compare telling your doctor you are gay to telling him your salary? If you are out, what is the big deal?
Turn to the left, cough, and tell me the name of your favorite Golden Girl.
Doctors are aware that most men who are into men will recoil at being identified as gay, so they develop skillful ways to more comfortably ascertain sexual health.
I switched doctors a few years ago and during my first visit my doctor and I reviewed my entire medical and family history together. At some point he asked, "you are... heterosexual?" I just responded, "homo..."
My doc is gay, too, and this is a liberal neighborhood in a liberal city, so I realize my experience my not be typical.
R22, why not and isn't that a problem?
R25, it's just part of my private life. I also wouldn't tell my doctor (or my plumber, or my accountant or whatever) about my brother-in-law who was a crook, or about my credit score, or any number of other things--my private life is purely on a need-to-know basis.
I'm not ashamed of any of that--none of it reflects on me--but I don't tell that stuff to strangers or service providers.
My doc's nurse just did the "So do you have a girlfriend, wife?" deal and I said, "Something like that." IT was funny how the nurse tried to reassure me it was all good, "I have no problem with that and think it's just great! I hope your relationship works out!"...lol
My doctor just straight out asked me. I appreciated it. He specifically knows what to look for or ask about during my check ups.
I go to a doctor who is openly gay himself and advertises his practice particularly to the gay community. I think he'd be surprised if any of his patients were straight.
Generally I think the doctor should go on the assumption that the patient could be either gay or straight-identified and even if not gay-identified may have experienced sex with someone of the same sex.
Ever time I end up with a new doctor, I've had to deal with many of them assuming that when I have an issue with my health they assume it's HIV related. It's really tedious.
Ideally your primary care physician (PCP) should know about your sexual activities the same way they should know about the type of job you do, or what your normal diet consists of, or what drugs you normally take, or what kind of physical activity you do for exercise. I purposely did research when searching for a PCP to select one that I wouldn't hesitate to discuss anything with. I asked many friends & acquaintances who they see and what the pros and cons of him/her were.
I realize there are situations like r22 mentions where options are limited and patients feel the need to hide things. That's a shame and any medical professional that would let a personal bias get in the way of proper care for a patient reflects poorly on the profession.
I'm not a doctor (and I don't play one on TV), but I am a clinical researcher, so I sit down with new patients and ask them to relay their detailed medical history all the time. Unless it's relevant to the case, I never specifically ask them if they engage in same-sex or opposite-sex intercourse. But I do have to ask everyone about their chosen methods of birth control. During that discussion is when the patients usually offer up the information about their sex lives.
Even if they don't ask or it's uncomfortable to talk about, it's a good idea for your overall health to let your regular doctor know what your sex life is like. Sexual health is part of health too.
On a side not...
Patients aren't always forthright with their doctors about things in their lives, and that is also a shame because ultimately it can serve to hamper their care in the long run. What I find they are the most likely to be deceptive about is their use of alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs.
The clinic/hospital is not a place where a person should concern themselves with the judgement of others. But that's just the way some people are.
If one wants to have an std screening that includes anal then it should be up to him to tell his dr. he wants that. If one wants to self-identify to his dr. for any other reason then he should do so.
But other than that I don't see why it's a dr.'s obligation to ask a patient's sexual orientation.
R36, after dramatically coming out to a new doctor (it was 2003 and I was coming out to everyone but my family), I asked for std screening.
She suggested I use a free anonymous clinic because insurance records of tests administered follow you forever.
I think it is very important that you tell your Dr. your sexual orientation. Why hide something unless you are so self loathing and ashamed.
I love R3
I don't get it, he's your doctor, not your therapist. Unless you are discussing sexual health, why would the doctor need to know about your personal life?
[quote]Ideally your primary care physician (PCP) should know about your sexual activities the same way they should know about the type of job you do, or what your normal diet consists of, or what drugs you normally take, or what kind of physical activity you do for exercise.
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I go to the doctor when I'm sick and have been sick for more than a week, and I go to get a prescription to get better.
My sexual activities, my job, my diet, non-medicinal drugs I take or my physical activity are none of his business unless it's the reason why I'm there.
You don't have to tell them, they know when they do the Prostate exam and their whole hand goes in.
Old fashioned might not be the best way to describe that, r41, it's just a different way of thinking about health care. The way you utilize doctors is common for many, many people. And you are right, if you only go to the clinic when something is wrong and you see whichever doctor is on duty, then none of that information is worth divulging...unless they have reason to specifically ask.
The way you say that those aspects of your life are 'none of his business' sounds a little like...well...like you feel about doctors the same way some people feel hostility about their mothers. (that's a joke...sort of) A doctor wouldn't want to know information that you prefer to keep to yourself just to be nosy or judgmental.
The other view on health care is more of a health maintenance approach. These patients pick a primary care physician - a regular doctor that is going to be their go-to person and he/she will become familiar with them. The people with PCPs are those that get routine physicals, and when something comes up in between visits, they can call directly to that doctor or his/her nurse(s) to ask questions. Overall the idea is that you sort-of partner with your doctor to maintain your general health.
So it's just different. It's more helpful in the latter situation for the doc to know the stuff about your personal life. Sometimes it'll assist them in diagnosing what might be ailing a patient. But they also have information and statistics about things that are afflicting certain populations at different rates than others, and they use that knowledge in assessing treatment.
When I pull my pants down, turn my head and cough, and my prolapsed sphincter collapses all over the floor, he generally gets the idea.
My doctor asked if I was gay when doing vaccinations - because of my answer, she added Hep C vaccination to the tropical ones I was also getting.
Girls, you think YOU have it tough? Be grateful you're not a lesbian. Every doctor I've ever had asks me what kind of birth control I'm using. I've tried to answer "None," but then I usually get some kind of lecture about STDs or easy/cheap birth control methods.
I tell them I'm a lesbian, and then they STFU. But they're always taken aback, and take few pains to hide it.
OP, don't assume every woman patient is straight. Perhaps you could ask, "Do you need to use birth control?" instead.
PS whoops it wasn't Hep C (Wikipedia says no vaccine exists), must have been B
In a telegram.
There are certain diseases that are more prevalent to gay men or lesbians. Lesbians, for example, are at a higher risk of breast cancer.
I think it can be important to be fully open with your doctor so he/she knows what screenings could be vital to your health.
"That caftan sure brings out the color of those earrings.."
As a woman his is easy.
She/he asks "could you be pregnant" and I say, "no- I'm a lesbian and I don't sleep with men. "
Sometimes therapists just stare at your crotch.
R7, it is on a military base.
R14, it is relevant for STD screenings and providing relevant safer sex counseling. Ex: not inadvertantly giving advice related to heterosexual practices, or withholding information relevant to gays and lesbians.
[quote]My doctor wouldn't have me for a patient if he knew I were gay.
What the hell? Is your Doctor located in the 80s?
Anyway, I don't see why one would care about hiding being gay from your doctor. The best who compared it to secrets about their brother in law is retarded.
Your sexual orientation is just a basic fact about you that is not your "private life" anymore than being left or right handed should be private information.
Good lord a lot of posters in this thread sound like antiquated closet cases. It is 2012 right?
Not so, R49 -- a woman is at higher risk for breast cancer if she has never given birth. And I know plenty of lesbians with biological children and plenty of straight women without.
You're a gay guy, right? And you're one of those gay guys who thinks they know everything about women, right?