The Invisible Patient in Today’s Medicine: Men Who Have Sex With Men
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!
Let’s face it, most medical practices do not facilitate the discussion of sexual behaviors AT ALL, much less variations on the “majority.”
This group of men deserves to receive culturally competent, comprehensive health care, including preventive services.
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 every day.
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.
Clint Potter, MD
Questions and topics are always welcome. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
All inquiries will be kept confidential.
—Dr. Clint Potter is a general practice physician in Naples, FL. In addition to medical marijuana, his practice, Advance Individualized Medicine of Naples, provides specialized care for addiction services, cosmetic procedures, and LGBTQ patients. He treats the entire patient and takes an individualized approach. Call (239) 260-3880 or Text (239) 217-1247 for more information or to schedule an appointment. You can also email him.