We all have a right to good health

by Mary Turner
HIV Health Columnist

A good health treatment protocol treats the whole person and not just a set of symptoms or physiology. Medical staff may not understand sexual health beyond the basics of human anatomy.

Additionally, many people hold doctors and nurses in very high esteem and view them as authority figures who we must not question. Instead, each of us should view them as partners in our health care decisions.

As an LGBT+ person, it is important for you to speak with your doctor or nurse to help ensure that they understand your needs and treats you accordingly. It may be necessary for you to help educate or encourage them to become educated on the language and practices necessary for the twenty-first century, especially as they relate to the LGBT+ community.

Members of our community may feel this disconnect more than our straight counterparts, especially in rural regions, because of the fear of being outed when seeking services and because fewer health care professionals in smaller communities are equipped to deal with the unique health needs of the LGBT+ community.

Further compounding the problem, downward economic trends at the state and federal levels have resulted in fewer dollars to provide health services to people in need. For example, in the state of Oklahoma, more than 21 percent of the population depends on Medicaid (SoonerCare) as a way of paying for their healthcare.

Resources continue to dwindle as state revenues are inadequate to support rural facilities. Diminished funds coupled with the predominantly federal stance that now views healthcare more as a privilege than a right, pushing more and more individuals away from needed care.

It is necessary to help educate our policymakers so that they understand what is at stake as they undercut funding for critical health services. Contact your legislators about LGBT+ health issues. Remember, they work for you!

For more information about rural health in your state, visit www.ruralhealthinfo.org/states.

The Gayly March 19, 2018. 10:03 a.m. CST.