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I live in a small town with no gay doctors. As a gay man should my physical be different from that of a straight man?

This is a great question and one that I had myself.  I grew up in a small town where when I told my doctor I was gay he seemed slightly uncomfortable.  As a result I didn't ask him all of the questions that I probably should have, and at 19 what did I know about gay versus straight health.  At 22 I started to wonder if things should be the same and used the site at Fenway Health to get some answers.  I have copied the email I received back from them, and I hope it helps.

 Yes indeed a physical exam for a gay man should have a few differences. 
 Additionally, it's probably best to have a gay doctor or at least someone
 who specializes in gay men's health. 
 Given the challenges of finding a provider near you who
 fits this bill, being informed and open with your doc is the next best
 thing.  For help try www.glma.org

 other things that some people have a hard time talking about: stuff like
 your alcohol consumption and drug use, if appropriate.

 Provided you're sexually active, your doc should routinely test you for
 sexually transmitted infections in this way:
 A urine test AND throat swab AND anal swab for chlamydia and gonorrhea
 and a blood test for syphilis.  A routine STI screening often doesn't
 include the swabs.  These infections can be symptomatic and go
 undiagnosed.  Also your doc should examine you for HPV symptoms: genital warts,
 and should do a yearly anal pap smear to look for irregular cells
 associated with HPV.  Your provider should be familiar with HIV testing and
 include it in your routine exams.  Also, your provider should have the
 provision to put you on Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which is anti
 HIV medications administered after a potential exposure, such as when a
 condom breaks during anal sex or when in the heat of the moment the
 condoms get left out of the equation.

 Other than that, the exam is pretty much the same as it would be for a
 hetero guy.

So there it is... If you are like me you are questioning the whole anal pap smear, but
I looked it up and it is something that is being recommended.  I have not yet been
brave enough to get one, but if I man-up and get one I will be sure to post about
it in the "lifestyles" blog.


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