LGBT Health


Understanding LGBT Sexual Health and Wellness Issues

This page has infromation for individuals who identfy as LGBT.

  • Lesbian – A female with physical and emotional attraction to other females.
  • Gay – A person who possesses a desire for people of the same sex. This person also has a physical and emotional attraction to individuals of the same sex.
  • Bisexual – A person who feels physical and emotional attraction to members of both the male and female genders. Male or female preference varies with each bisexual.
  • Transgender – A person whose gender identity is different from the identity typically associated with their birth assigned sex.

Lesbian

  • Women involved with other women in sexually active relationships should consider several factors in order to remain healthy and to reduce their risk of STIs:
    • Behavior is the most important factor in determining risk levels for contracting an infection. Although the risk of serious infections for woman-to-woman sexual activity is considered to be less than other gender interaction, women with infections can still transmit them by participating in activities where their partners where fluids are transferred from woman-to-woman.
    • To ensure safe sex, do not participate in activities where fluids are transferred from one partner to another. Always have sores and abnormal symptoms checked by a physician.
    • Get checked for STIs regularly, especially with each new partner.
    • Body fluids that most commonly carry infection are: blood, vaginal fluids, and discharges from sores as a result of STIs.
    • Abstinence is the best policy for complete safety.
    • Safe sex is for all sexual orientations. Be sure to clean toys that you share with your partner and consider using latex barriers to prevent the passing of body fluids.

Gay

  • Men who are sexually active with other men are at a higher risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDS than any other sexual orientation.
  • In 2006, gay men represented 48 percent of the more than 1 million people in the United States infected with HIV.
  • Gay men are estimated to be 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer.
  • Gay men should consider the many ways to lower their risk of getting a STI:
    • Avoid allowing your partner’s body fluids to get into your body.
    • Consistently be checked for STIs, a minimum of once per year. However, it is recommended that you be checked with each new partner.
    • To reduce the risk of STI, consider body rubbing, passionate kissing, and masturbation. It is important to remember that some infections can be transferred simply through body-to-body contact.
    • Anal intercourse is the highest risk activity for gay men. Use of a latex condom and lubricant is highly encouraged for those who proceed with anal intercourse. Although neither product can guarantee to prevent STIs, when combined and used correctly they offer an opportunity to lower the normal risk.

Bisexual

  • Research suggests that bisexual women with large numbers of female partners are more likely to have vaginal infections.
  • Studies show that bisexual men, as well as gay men, are more likely to report being infected with a STI than any other sexual orientation.

Transgender

  • Transgender women, male-to-female, are found to have HIV rates ranging from 5 to 68 percent. This number is significantly higher than transgender men, female-to-male, where the rates fall in between 2 and 3 percent.