What do I need to know?
LGBTIQ people with a cervix also need cervical screening, because no matter who you have ever touched 'bits' with, you're still at risk of cervical cancer.
Luckily, regular cervical screening can prevent cervical cancer. Read on for tips to make your next visit to your doctor or nurse stress-free.
What do I need to tell my doctor or nurse?
When you have your cervical screening appointment, you may be asked questions such as 'Are you sexually active?' and 'What form of contraception are you using?' These questions and assumptions can be uncomfortable, so it's a good idea to think about how you would like to respond beforehand.
Choosing a good practitioner is important, as they will usually use language that acknowledges diversity.
The choice to disclose information about your sexuality and gender identity is yours. However, disclosing this personal information may lead to a better experience because the doctor or nurse will be able to tailor your care based on how you identify.
If you choose to disclose let your health professional know whether or not you want it recorded since other professionals could have access to your medical records. Health professionals are required by law to protect your confidentiality and maintain your privacy.
How do I find the right doctor or nurse?
Finding a health professional who is knowledgeable and understands the barriers LGBTIQ people with a cervix may face when seeking cervical screening may be difficult.
You can talk to friends to get recommendations of cervical screening providers that are a good fit, or you can find a list of friendly health professionals, all recommended by members of the LGBTIQ community at DocLIST.
What do I do if I feel discriminated against or uncomfortable during screening?
Health practitioners are encouraged to take a sensitive approach to asking about your sexual history and performing pelvic examinations, and are generally informed about LGBTIQ health issues.
Occasionally a person may have a bad experience when having a cervical screening test. If this happens to you, remember that you can stop the test at any time or leave at any point during the consultation.
It's unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or lawful sexual activity (Equal Opportunity Act 2010). If you feel you have been discriminated against, sexually harassed, victimised or vilified, you or someone on your behalf can make a complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. If you've had a bad experience but don't want to make a complaint, talk it over with friends or with someone who can offer you support. You can also speak to Cancer Council Victoria on 13 11 20.
What does the research say?
Information for health professionals
If your clinic or health service is LGBTIQ-friendly ensure that you speak to your patients to seek a reference to list your service as a preferred provider. For more information about how to qualify for DocList refer to www.doclist.com.au/contribute