3.3 Sexuality: HIV – Counselling

Once you’ve taken a thorough history and have a good understanding of a patient’s risk, it is important to provide accurate counselling. Understanding how patients can reduce their risk of transmission and the prophylaxis available to them is an important part of primary care. 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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