Talking to Your Health Care Provider About Being LGBTQ+

Duke Health is committed to meeting the needs of all our patients. Information about sexual orientation and gender identity help us in this goal. Your information can be collected in your My Duke Health (previously Duke MyChart), clinic registration forms, and may be asked during visits. It allows our providers to give you the best care possible. Here’s why talking to your provider about your sexual orientation and gender identity is important, followed by frequently asked questions about why we seek this information and how it may be used. If you have additional questions, we encourage you to speak with your provider.

Coming Out to Your Provider

Coming out to your health care provider is an important part of your health and well-being. Many people are not aware that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) people face unique health risks related to the increased discrimination they often face. These risks include higher rates of smoking, problems with mental health, and sexually transmitted infections. If you talk to your provider about being LGBTQ+, your provider can:

  • Pay closer attention to health issues that affect LGBTQ+ people.
  • Learn to use the terms, names, pronouns, and other words you prefer.
  • Refer you to other providers and specialists who are welcoming to LGBTQ+ people.
  • Better involve you in decisions about your health.
  • Help connect you with support for you or your family, especially if you are having problems.
FAQs About Sharing Personal Information

Learn about why we ask about your personal information and how it can help us provide the best care possible.

Behavioral Health for LGBTQ+ Patients

LGBTQ+ people often experience prejudice, stereotyping, and harassment or bullying
by others. This kind of discrimination can be very stressful, which can put you at risk for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, feelings of loneliness, and even suicide. Being open about your sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and gender identity can help you access the care you need most, including:

  • Care that is personalized and most relevant to you. 
  • Referrals to specialists, like behavioral health providers and other wellness providers. 
  • Additional understanding toward current health trends that affect LGBTQ+ people and how Duke can help. 
  • We support everyone in ways that can help people talk to providers about family life issues, such as partner abuse (feeling safe at home).

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Talking to your provider about your sexual health isn’t easy. However, there are many benefits to discussing your sexual function and behaviors with a provider. Each person’s needs will differ, but some of the sexual health issues that may be important to discuss are:

  • Screening for sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
  • Understanding pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to minimize risk of HIV transmission, and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), in the case of recent HIV exposure.
  • Getting vaccinated for HPV and hepatitis A and B.
  • Safer sex education and counseling including use of condoms, other barrier methods, or problems with sexual function or satisfaction.
  • LGBTQ+ fertility options to adopt or conceive children.

Lesbians, bisexual women, and some transgender people should also make sure they are getting are getting routine health screenings based on their anatomy including Pap smears, prostate exams, and mammograms.

Find a Provider

Providers across Duke Health's network of hospitals and clinics can self-identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally. Meet our providers, view their profiles, and select one that's right for your needs.