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Lesbians And Their Health Essay

1427 words - 6 pages

Most LGBTQ people fear getting a homophobic response from their HCPs and are afraid of receiving lesser quality treatment due to a lack of trust in their HCPs. For this reason, many LGBTQ people avoid routine health care, which can have severe health consequences.
A large gap in the knowledge demonstrated by HCPs has been created due to the limited research in the area of lesbian health and has further resulted in misinformed advice and diagnosis given to their lesbian clients. An example of such a misunderstanding is that annual papanicolaou (PAP) examinations are not required because of the belief that lesbians are at little risk of contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV). However, it was found that women who have sexual partners who are women are in fact facing an increased risk for developing gynecological cancers resulting from HPV (Goldberg et al., 2009). It was also found that lesbians are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer due to a number of factors including increased age at first child birth, limited use of oral contraceptives, as well as tobacco and alcohol use (Goldberg et al., 2009). However, even though lesbians are at higher risks of developing several diseases, they would rather avoid the healthcare system in general, or are more likely to seek out queer HCPs or alternative healthcare services that will offer them a safe and welcoming environment. These alternatives are all measures taken to avoid a potentially demeaning response from their HCPs. This is particularly problematic because if a healthcare service that addresses their needs is not geographically or financially accessible to them, then they are ultimately discouraged from pursuing healthcare measures and are thus at a greater risk for developing health concerns as compared to heterosexual women (Goldberg et al., 2009).
The negative experiences that LGBQT people undergo within the healthcare system also affects the lives of their children. Parenting by LGBQT persons is increasingly becoming widely accepted, yet many of them are reluctant to ‘come out’ to their physicians about their sexual orientation and seek prenatal care (Chapman et al., 2012). Some lesbian couples have been refused access to healthcare services by homophobic physicians, and other lesbian couples experiencing childbirth have expressed doubts as to whether they received the same quality of treatment as heterosexual couples based on the behaviors of the nursing staff that they interacted with (Bucholz, 2000, as cited in Goldberg et al., 2009). This indicates that it is not only physicians that are responsible for ensuring that LGBQT people feel safe and welcomed within the healthcare settings that they visit. Nurses also have an important role to play, especially because they are the ones that have greater interactions with the patients before the physician sees them. It is important for all HCPs to remember that LGBQT parents are vulnerable because they deal with harassment and...

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