A new survey published today in the Journal of American Medicine reveals that medical schools don’t teach doctors-to-be very much about health issues particular to the LGBT community.
According to the Web-based survey, which garnered responses from 85% of U.S. and Canadian medical schools, an average of five hours in the entire curriculum was devoted to LGBT-related material. (A third had none during the years students work with patients.) More than a fourth of the deans surveyed reported their school’s coverage of 16 related topics—including sexual-reassignment surgery, mental health issues and HIV/AIDS— was “poor” or “very poor.”
Beyond simply taking a patient’s sexual history, doctors must be educated on how to “carry [the] conversation as far as it needs to go,” lead author Dr. Juno Obedin-Maliver, an ob-gyn at the University of California, San Francisco, told CBS News. Otherwise, there are false assumptions and mistakes. For example, lesbians and straight women alike need regular Pap smears to test for STDS but, explains Obedin-Maliver, “I’ve had lesbian patients come to me and say, ‘I haven’t had a Pap test in 20 years because my doctors said I didn’t need one.'”
That’s why we have a gay doctor. Well, that and the fact that he’s gorgeous and has a house in the Pines.