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Thursday
Apr152010

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.

 

If you have other questions that we did not answer, please ask us HERE.

Thursday
Apr152010

What is the best way to tell my family I am gay?

This is a very good question.  Telling your family is never easy, and in most cases you just have to bite the bullet and do it.  There is no good time to do this and it never comes up in conversation.  There are plenty of ways to come out.  You can bring your boyfriend, girlfriend or lover home and go that route, but that can be messy.

I suggest telling your family before you bring someone home. Mostly because while you are ready to share with them who you are, you have had years to come to terms with it.  Your family is going to need some time to adjust.  Don't expect them to be instantly all right with it.  In most cases they will come around and accept you, but it make take days, months or years.  With that said, it is highly recommended that if you feel your family will react badly and you are dependent upon them (they are helping you pay for college or you are in high school) that you wait.  This can be difficult and only you can make the decision for your situation.  Every case will be different, but I can almost guarantee you that you know your family better than you think.  If you think they will be alright with the news, they probably will be.  If you think they will react badly you are probably right (or they might surprise you).

When you tell your family they may have some questions, so be ready.  Answer all of their questions to the best of your ability and do your best not to get frustrated.  Remember, all of this is new to them!  Whatever you do make sure that you tell them with 100% confidence that you are who you are.  If you waver at all they may see a weakness and try to bring it up over and over, or hold out hope that you will eventually "be straight again."

Another common thing is for parents to suggest you go to counseling.  Do it, but make it conditional.  If they want you to go to counseling make them do the same, because at the end of counseling you will still be gay, and if they have gone to counseling they may be better prepared to hear the news.

One last thing.  DO NOT come out to your family while angry.  Don't throw your sexuality in their face in an argument or a fight to one up someone, it will only make things harder on you and on them.

Good luck!

 

If you have other questions that we did not answer please ask us HERE.