Thursday, February 06, 2003

I went to the doctor yesterday for a physical and while I was there I consented to have an HIV test done as well. It’s the smart thing to do since I am a sexually active gay man and it would be nice to know what status because sadly even I admit that I have fallen into a sense of complacency regarding AIDS. Yes, when I have sex it’s protected, but that’s never a 100% guarantee that I will be STD free.

Anyway, I like my new doctor. And yes, for those that are wondering, he’s gay as well. My friend Alison has always asked why a gay this or a gay that? She’s never understood the need for a group to be specifically gay identified. I keep telling her it’s the same as why there are women’s groups – it allows for a safe environment where you are amongst people of your own ilk. It’s something along the lines of people who belong to organizations based upon religion, nationality, and even race.

Being a gay man and having a doctor who is gay is practically the equivalent of a woman going to doctor who is a woman as well. They immediately relate to you. They know the right questions to ask and aren’t embarrassed about asking them. My last doctor never asked about my sexuality or if I had a boyfriend. His patient info file never had the space for “partnered” to be checked. And what was great about it was that he went into details about the two hepatitis vaccines (and no, I do not have hepatitis) that as a “sexually active gay man” (or so he said, personally I’m like, “What sex?”) I should not only be aware of but also get done as well. Granted, I hate needles and getting shots, but hell, my last doctor never brought this up to me before.

It’s a comfort level. It’s knowing that when you walk into that office you aren’t concerned that your doctor is going to freak out when you tell him (or her) that you’re gay. It’s knowing that they are more than understanding of the health concerns you have because they have them as well.

Now you’re probably wondering how the heck did I find a doctor that’s gay? I went through GLMA, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. They tell you which doctors are in the association and which ones accept which insurance coverage. It’s very simple. Very easy. And worth it.
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