When you think of health services that are specifically oriented to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), you may think primarily of sexual transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS testing and treatment or gender transition services. Novus Adult Care Services in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania intends to take a broader scope than that for LGBT health. From Lehigh Valley’s The Morning Call:
“Say you have a patient who is transgender,” [Allen] Smith [Nurse practitioner and founder of Novus Adult Care Services] said, “they still need to have colonoscopies. They still need to have checks for diabetes. They still need to have checks for blood pressure. They’re not going to get these things if they don’t go to the doctor. And they’re not going to go to the physician’s office if they feel stigmatized.”
Smith should know. After an early bad experience with a doctor’s disclosure of his sexuality, Smith went into the closet when it came to his health care:
“[I was] lying to my doctor my whole life” and that his failure to disclose his sexual orientation led to less than optimal care.
It’s this kind of situation that Novus Adult Care Services hopes to overcome.
It’s not sufficient for health professionals to say they treat individuals regardless of their sexual orientation, Smith said.
“Yes, it’s true that if you’re providing solid care for patients, there would be no need for this,” he said of his practice. “But the input that I’m getting from the patients is that it isn’t happening.”