Finding a gay-friendly doctor: how to get the right healthcare for you

By Emen8, updated 2 months ago in Health / Sexual health

stethoscope on rainbow flag gay friendly doctor lgbt health

Are you a guy who’s into other guys (and maybe others too)? Are you looking for a non-judgmental doctor you can talk to about your sexual health?

While you should be able to talk to your regular doctor about STIs and HIV, the reality is, even with confidentiality, not everyone’s comfortable discussing ‘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 anywhere in Australia, 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. Gay-friendly GPs will know which questions to ask respectfully and what sexual health tests are most appropriate 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 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. It’s good to remember that confidentiality protects your visits to the GP. 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 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 LGBTQ 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.

doctor with stethoscope and rainbow ribbon gay friendly lgbt healthcare

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 prevent HIV transmission — 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. Once you are at the doctor, you can ask for a sexual health screening. GPs with experience in sexual health testing will know to ask what type of sex you are having so they can give you the right tests.

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. This should include a blood test, bum swab, mouth swab and urine sample. 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.

Remember to ask how you will receive your results. Some GPs will ask you to book a follow-up consult after about a week to give you your results. Others will provide a telehealth phone call. If your test comes back positive for an STI, your doctor will call to arrange an appointment to provide treatment and advise letting your partners know.

Where can I find my nearest gay-friendly GP?

Emen8’s Find a Service tool has everything you need to find your nearest LGBT-friendly GP. Use our interactive map and directory to find services anywhere in Australia.

Emen8 find a sexual health service in australia map

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.

Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Canberra and ACT

Meridian provides inclusive health services in Canberra.

Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Darwin and NT

The Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC) has an interactive map of specialist health services for LGBTI and Indigenous sexual health in the NT.

Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Brisbane and Queensland

The Queensland Council for LGBTQ Health (QC) recommend this directory for sexual health testing in Queensland.

Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Adelaide and SA

South Australian Mobilisation and Empowerment for Sexual Health (SAMESH) recommend finding gay-friendly GPs through the Rainbow Directory SA.

Gay-friendly doctors and GPs in Tasmania

The Tasmanian Council for AIDS, Hepatitis and Related Diseases (tasCAHRD) outline GPs and sexual health services on their website.