Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012
News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians
Study explores safe-sex practices among gay couples
A new study presented at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., offers important insight into the safe-sex practices of gay men.
Researchers studying gay couples in San Francisco and New York City found that while black gay couples tend to practice safe sex more often, they rarely talk about it. Conversely, while white gay couples often discussed the use of condoms, they are more likely to have unprotected sex. Researchers explain that their findings are important given that gay men account for the majority of new HIV cases in the United States.
The study comes on the heels of a new report in The Lancet that found that black men who have sex with men account for one in four new American HIV infections. Learning how black gay men process information about HIV prevention is important for health care professionals; according to the report, by age 40 a black gay man has a 60 percent likelihood of becoming infected with HIV.
For physicians, these new data demonstrate the importance of communicating effectively with gay patients. The AMA offers a resource on getting to know your gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) patients, properly taking a sexual history, and preparing to answer questions on topics of interest to your GLBT patients.
OPM to extend health coverage to gay couples' children
Health coverage for gay employees would be extended to the children of their same-sex partners under a proposed rule by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The rule likely would ease the often burdensome process many gay couples face in creating legal ties to their children when they are not the biological parent. Many states only allow one parent to form legal links to a child, which often leaves both the parent and child vulnerable.
While encouraging news for gay employees, according to a review of the rule in the New York Times, "this development still wouldn't put these families on an entirely even footing with their heterosexual married peers. Federal employees and retirees will still be required to pay taxes on the market value of the coverage if the children aren't considered dependents."