Wednesday, March 6, 2013
News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Physicians
Youths remain under-tested for HIV
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25 percent of the 50,000 Americans infected with HIV each year are between the ages of 13 and 24. Unfortunately, 60 percent of them don't know they have it despite testing recommendations from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
A recent CNN report documents the story of Masonia Traylor, a young woman who tested positive for HIV when she was 16. Despite already being a teen mother and engaging in unprotected sex, Traylor had to specifically ask for an HIV test on top of a standard sexually transmitted disease panel. She insisted on taking the test even though her doctor told her that she was low risk.
She discovered that she was not only HIV positive, but also pregnant with her second child. Looking back, Traylor told CNN that even though she knew about HIV, she didn't fully understand her risk of contracting it.
"I was aware it was out there," she said, "but I didn't know what it looked like."
Michael Kaplan, president and CEO of AIDS United, told CNN that as a young gay man he found it difficult to talk to his doctor about HIV testing. His physician never offered him an HIV test and made assumptions about his sexual orientation, he said. He believes doctors need to create "an open and accepting environment that talks about sexuality and human nature." This includes easier access to testing.
"If kids got to a place where they were routinely offered screening … they wouldn't struggle with 'Where can I get tested? Who do I talk to about it?' And a lot of the stigma would be eradicated," Kaplan said.
The AMA provides training videos to help physicians communicate effectively with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients.
Article highlights GLBT youth issues for pediatricians
Researchers set out to fill common gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) youth knowledge gaps among pediatricians in a recent article published in Pediatric Annals. The authors reviewed common GLBT terminology, determined the prevalence of GLBT youth and identified health disparities in the GLBT population. They followed this discussion with strategies to develop an accepting atmosphere for GLBT youths in pediatric practices, including the maintenance of ongoing health and appropriate screening for at-risk behaviors.