“we can get STD’s as lesbians”

I feel that we need to raise more awareness of sexually transmitted diseases in the LGBT community. There seems to be a myth amongst sexual health practitioners and GPs that only heterosexual and gay men contract STD’s. I regularly go and get tested to check for STD’s. A few years ago, I attended a couple of different clinics in the Yorkshire area. When the question arose as to whether I had had sex recently and who with, I answered that I was a lesbian and had had sex with a couple of women. The women at both clinics then told me confidently that I wouldn’t need testing as the contraction rate for STD’s for lesbians was so low it was negligible. I was a little confused, shocked and embarrassed and did not know how to react. I was sure that I needed testing and that we could contract STD’s. Both women then questioned whether I had slept with a man recently. I hadn’t but I felt almost pressured to lie and say that I had out of fear and worry, as I believed that if I said no then I would have been refused tests. I think that even though this was a couple of years ago, it is disgraceful how misinformed the medical profession are. I have learned since that of course we can get STD’s as lesbians. The risk of contraction is low but it is possible and I know quite a few lesbians that have contracted STD’s and quite serious ones at that such as herpes. Thinking about my experiences now, it is absolutely unacceptable that sexual health practitioners could give such inaccurate information and could potentially turn members of the LGBT community away. I question where they obtain their information? Someone I used to know (and have no contact with now) actually lived with herpes for several years without ever realising. She had approached GP’s who told her that it was unlikely that she had a sexually transmitted disease and that it was probably thrush and sent her away with thrush treatment. This, in my mind, is just negligence and these experiences just highlight the ignorance of LGBT issues within the medical profession.


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