Finding a gay-friendly doctor: how to get the right healthcare for you
Are you a guy who‘s into other guys (and maybe girls too)? Are you looking for a non-judgmental doctor you can talk to honestly about your sex life?
While you should be able talk to your regular doctor about STIs and HIV, the reality is, even with doctor-patient confidentiality, not everyone’s comfortable discussing the nitty-gritty of ‘who put what where’ with the same doctor Mum’s been taking you to since you were knee-high!
Sounds like you might be looking for a gay-friendly doctor — also known as a General Practitioner (GP) in Australia. Whether you live in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth or elsewhere, here’s our guide to finding one!
Why a gay-friendly doctor or GP?
As a gay or bisexual guy, you’ve got some unique health needs – particularly when it comes to sexual health.
A gay-friendly doctor is familiar with the health needs of gay and bisexual guys. Some doctors specialise in healthcare needs for trans guys too. They can help you put together the right sexual health plan for your circumstances. This includes STI testing, HIV testing, HIV treatment, PEP and PrEP.
They’ll know what you mean when you talk about tops, bottoms, sounding and fisting. Better, they’ll know which questions to ask respectfully and what sexual health tests to get to make sure you’re getting the most appropriate care for you.
The most important thing is finding a doctor you feel comfortable with and trust enough to be completely honest about your health and your sexual behaviours. Had anonymous sex without a condom and not sure if you’ve been exposed to HIV or an STI? Worried about that funny tingling when you pee? Got questions about anal sex and taking care of your ass? Not sure if it’s safe to swallow cum or give a rim job?
These are all important questions. A gay-friendly doctor will be able to go through them with you, in as much detail as you want. And trust us – whatever it is, they’ve heard it all before. Dr Vincent certainly has!
Guys like Vincent work to stop the spread of HIV — Choosing a healthcare provider | Emen8
Are they different to a regular GP?
In some ways, they do all the same things — any GP who identifies as gay-friendly or LGBT-friendly will be able to offer the same medical services as a regular GP — from coughs and colds to that weird rash that just doesn’t seem to go away!
A gay-friendly GP will also be able to help with the social, emotional and cultural aspects of your health as a member of the LGBT+ community. They offer an inclusive, accepting space where you can discuss your sexual health and mental health confidentially and without judgement.
What sort of gay-friendly doctor should I be looking for?
Before you start searching, think about exactly what you want in a doctor or GP:
- Are you looking for a regular GP to see ongoing, or do you only want to see them for your sexual health?
- Do you want a drop-in service that lets you stay anonymous?
- Do you have a specific reason for needing a doctor (like one of your partners telling you they’ve tested positive for an STI)?
- Is the gender of your doctor important to you?
- Do you want an HIV rapid test? (See below for what to do if you think you’ve been exposed to HIV.)
Having definite answers to these questions will help you find the most appropriate doctor for your needs.
What if I think I’ve been exposed to HIV?
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV, immediately contact your nearest sexual health service to speak to someone about whether you should start a course of PEP.
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a 28-day course of medication that can help to stop HIV from establishing an infection in your body. To have a chance of being effective, PEP is best started within 72 hours of exposure, and the sooner, the better.
The Get PEP website provides all the information you need to take action and stay HIV negative — or click on the link for your state or territory: ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
Exposed to HIV? Get PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) | Emen8
What should I expect at my appointment?
If you haven’t had a gay-friendly GP before, it’s not always clear what to expect or how to talk to a doctor about your sexual health.
On top of any routine testing they might do, if you haven’t tested for more than three months while you’ve been sexually active, it’s best to get a comprehensive sexual health test — even if you don’t have any symptoms. This includes testing for HIV (if you don’t know your status) and common STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. If you don’t know your vaccination status for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, get tested and ask about getting vaccinated for those as well.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to discuss how you’re managing your HIV and STI risk. A gay-friendly doctor will have all the information you need about prevention strategies, including: condoms, PrEP, relying on a partner’s undetectable viral load, or PEP if it’s needed. If you’re living with HIV, your doctor can help you understand how to manage it with HIV treatment to stay healthy and eliminate the possibility of passing HIV on.
Where can I find my nearest gay-friendly GP?
Emen8’s Find a Service tool has everything you need to find your nearest gay-friendly GP or LGBT-friendly GP. Use our interactive map and directory to find services anywhere in Australia.
The Drama Downunder’s Find a Clinic offers a similar service, with filter options specifically for gay-friendly doctors and GPs.
The DocDir directory is an Australia-wide directory of LGBTQ+ inclusive clinicians and services.
Depending on where you live, you can also look at directories in your state for a detailed list of gay-friendly GPs.
Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Sydney and NSW
ACON has a list of gay-friendly GPs in Sydney and across NSW. This also includes information about bulk billing options and doctors who speak languages other than English.
Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Melbourne and Victoria
The Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) lists sexual health services and partner clinics in Victoria, including those that cater for gay and bisexual guys.
Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Perth and WA
The WA Aids Council (WAAC) and Perth’s M Clinic keep a list of LGBT-friendly doctors in WA.