Whether we want to admit it or not, there are people or situations in our lives that can cause us to be apprehensive in divulging our sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, there are many of us who just don’t say it at all. I mean, do “they” really need to know?

But when it comes to your doctor, the answer is a resounding yes! If there is one professional person in our life who we should absolutely come out to, it’s our healthcare provider. But as members of the LGBTQ community, that’s not the only thing we should be talking to our doctors about. Use this checklist to make sure that you are telling your doctor everything he or she needs to know.

Mental Health

Believe it or not, your doctor wants to know how you feel emotionally as well as physically. Oftentimes, mental or emotional struggles are related to your physical health. This means that all your healthcare providers need to know the complete picture. So don’t think you are simply being whiney by telling your doctor how you feel. You are really just giving them a complete picture so they can help you in the best way possible.

Sexual History

Discussing your sexual history doesn’t mean giving the doctor a full, detailed accounting of your love life. But it does mean being honest about the number of sex partners you have and if you are having protected or unprotected sex. The LGBTQ community is unfortunately at high-risk when it comes to sexually transmitted infections. And according to the CDC, African-American gay and bisexual males have the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses. So discussing your sexual history allows your doctor to assess your STD risk and can lead to an early diagnosis. If you’re worried about what they might think, don’t be. There’s nothing they haven’t already seen or heard.

Family History

Talking to your healthcare provider about your family's medical history is not unique to the LGBTQ community. However, recent studies published by the American Public Health Association highlight the increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease among sexual minorities. Risk factors such as stress, tobacco use, and drinking are especially high among sexual minority women, but are elevated throughout the entire community. These elevated risks combined with a family history can allow doctors to identify cardiovascular and other diseases before they progress beyond treatment.

There’s only one you, so make yourself and your health a priority. Let the professionals at CIRCLE CARE Center of Norwalk, CT be the medical partner you can count on. We are here to help!