3.2 Sexuality: HIV – Assessing Risk

HIV is still a significant component of the sexual health of many LGBTIQ patients. Taking a thorough sexual history can help ascertain sexual risk with greater accuracy. Being aware of common risk factors can guide treatment and potentially prevent HIV infection by treating early exposure. In the medical literature, Men Who have Sex with Men (MSM) is often used to simplify complex identities. Throughout the following scenario, MSM might be used to describe the experiences of gay, bisexual and queer men.  Consider the following scenario:

Sashin is a 22 year old patient who presents for a check-up. They are concerned about HIV after having unprotected sex last night”

Sometimes, clinicians can make assumptions about a person’s sexual practices.  Several reports have shown that when health professionals discriminate or impose their prejudices on their patients, the quality of their healthcare suffers. Many LGBTIQ patients have experienced discrimination at some stage in their lives and may be highly sensitive to discrimination or judgement from healthcare professionals. As such, clinical settings must be spaces where LGBTIQ individuals feel safe to disclose their sexuality without fear of judgement.

In the following section, we’ll develop clinical skills with lesbian, gay and bisexual patients.

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