Your Medical Provider
One of the most helpful things you can do for your health and wellbeing is to have a medical home where you receive regular medical care. This enables you to have an ongoing relationship with a provider or clinic where any health issues can be monitored over time. It is important to have a medical provider that is culturally sensitive and is knowledgeable about issues related to MSM sexual health to eliminate any embarassment or fear.
Not everyone lives in an area where it is easy to find openly LGBT-friendly providers. We encourage you to be creative in finding the right provider. Ask your friends or sex buddies about where they get medical care to find providers in your area and check online. If you have health insurance, check its website for LGBT-friendly providers in your area. If you do not have insurance, we encourage you to find a community health center or health-related non-profit that may be a good fit for your needs. We have also included links below to some resources to finding providers across the country. Because we are based in San Francisco, we've also included local information.
For San Francisco Sexual Health Clinics
Topics to Discuss With Your Medical Provider
Tell your provider that you have sex with men. Some of you may identify as gay/queer and live out and proud while others may not be open to everyone. It’s really important for the person who helps manage your health care to understand issues that impact your wellbeing so that he/she can most effectively help you. Medical providers are legally bound to keep your information confidential. If you have concerns about maintaining your privacy, check in with your provider and verify that anything you say cannot be shared outside of the provider office or insurance company.
If you are sexually active, ask for STD testing at least every three months and be sure that swabs of your ass and throat are included when these tests are done. Without these swabs, you will not be able to detect all potential STDs. If you are HIV negative, be sure that HIV testing is included. Annual Hepatitis C screenings are also a good idea.
Get Vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, and HPV (if you are under 26). These vaccinations can protect you against serious illness. Get a flu shot each year to help prevent seasonal flus.
Ask your provider to be screened for testicular, prostate, and colon cancer. Every man can be screened for testicular cancer at any age. Prostate and colon cancer screenings are usually done for men over 40. These are easy preventative exams that can save your life.
If you have ever had anal warts, ask your provider about getting annual anal pap smears to check for irregular cells inside your ass; sometimes HPV can turn into anal cancer years after warts first appear. In the last decade, anal dysplasia clinics have become more common in urban areas with high number of gay men.