3. SEXUALITY

3.4 Sexuality: Safer Sex – Taking a Sexual History

The sexual health of lesbian, bisexual and queer women is an important aspect of primary care. It’s a common myth that lesbian, bisexual and queer women have no risk of sexually transmitted diseases or have concerns about their sexual health. Being aware of potential risk factors and common STIs in lesbian, bisexual and queer women will allow you to provide better, more inclusive healthcare.

In the medical literature, Women Who have Sex with Women (WSW) is often used to simplify complex identities. Throughout the following scenario, WSW might be used to describe the experiences of lesbian, bisexual and queer women. Consider the following scenario:

Gwen O’Hare is a 26 year old female who has presented to her GP concerned about an STI and seeking medical advice about the sorts of methods she can use to practice safer sex with her new girlfriend.”

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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