For many trans people they dread those words. This morning I met my new doctor for my annual physical, my old doctor retired after forty years as my PCP (Primary Care Physicians) and he was with me through my transition.
How physicians can be transgender inclusive around sexual healthFor the last ten years I have done training for med students and one things that they covered was taking sexual history.
By Jordan Rosenfeld
April 1, 2019
While sexual health is often an uncomfortable issue for physicians to address with patients, it is often overlooked entirely in transgender individuals due to physician’s lack of education or personal discomfort, according to Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD, medical director at the Center for Transgender Health at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.
Transgender individuals are those who maintain a gender identity that is different from the gender they were assigned at birth.
Olson-Kennedy recommends that physicians undergo training to improve their understanding and sensitivity to be more inclusive of transgender individuals.
When it comes to taking a sexual history, Olson-Kennedy says it’s very important that physicians avoid making any assumptions about a transgender person’s sexual behaviors or choice of sexual partners.Last month when I was on the panel I brought up that when I visited the portal for my new PCP that it had a note about MSM (Men having Sex with Men) and how that is presumptuous since many trans people don’t have partners. Well when I went to my new doctor I check the portal again and it was gone! Hmm… I wonder if one of the professors, who are also teaching doctors checked to see if their physicians’ network did that and removed them.
“There is a common [erroneous] assumption that transmen have sexual relationships with cisgender women,” Olson-Kennedy says. “For transfeminine individuals there is a similar assumption that they are in sexual relationships with cisgender men, which can lead to unnecessary and inappropriate inquiry about HIV risk.”
While Leondires says that physicians are going to make mistakes as they begin to practice transgender inclusivity, it’s important to acknowledge those moments and keep trying to build trust.So did my new PCP do a sexual history?
“These patients need healthcare,” he says. “In order to trust their doctor, their identity needs to be acknowledged.”