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Becoming more Gay Friendly in your Practice

Becoming more Gay Friendly in your Practice

GPs and practice nurses seeking to become more ‘gay friendly’ in their practice now have the option to complete a short online learning module Becoming More Gay Friendly in your Practice. Developed by the STIs in Gay Men Action Group (STIGMA), the OLM guides GPs on the diverse health needs of gay and homosexually active men. In particular, sexual health screening, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV testing, as well as psycho-social issues commonly experienced by gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Dr Chris Bourne, Head, NSW STI Programs Unit and Senior Staff Specialist, Sydney SexualHealth Centre, said gay or homosexually active men in Australia are disproportionately affected by STIs, including HIV, and most diagnoses in Australia are made by GPs. “It is important for everyone to feel comfortable when visiting a GP. For gay or homosexuall yactive men, GPs play an important role in helping them assess their sexual health risk and providing opportunities to test for STIs and HIV,” he said. “The OLM aims to help GPs deliver care which is inclusive of gay or homosexually active men; where they feel safe and free from discrimination and can be offered current professional health advice.”

Dr David Baker, a GP at East Sydney Doctors, says the OLM training highlights the diverse health needs of gay and homosexually active men, which encompass primary health care,current trends in sexual health, understanding of gay culture and its diversity. “As a GP, it’s important to become confident in identifying common health issues faced by gay men and men who have sex with men, particularly when it comes to their sexual health,” Dr Baker said. “The STIGMA OLM is an excellent resource for GPs who want to know more about being ‘gay friendly’ in their clinical practice and how to address and work with health issues specific to this population. The knowledge gained from the OLM enables GPs to have a more informed perspective and to to open up a discussion about STI risk, STI testing, drug and alcohol use and mental health.’’

Becoming More Gay Friendly in your Practice was developed by STIGMA, following its development of a ‘Gay Friendly GP List’ for NSW, to support access to the primary health care of gay men and MSM. The OLM is structured in three interactive case-based modules. The modules include: towards a better understanding of gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM), discussing sexual history and testing for STIs, and common health issues facing gay men and MSM. The OLM can be completed over one hour or 20 minutes for each module.

GPs and practice nurses can access the OLM by going to the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) Learning Management System https://lms.ashm.org.au/ registering or logging on, then clicking on the Catalogue tab.

GPs who complete the OLM in full can accrue two Cat.2 RACGP QI&CPD points.

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