June 2021: Issue 6
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Wyoming Health Council contributes to health and well-being for all, where we grow, live, learn, work and play.
"All people, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), need sexual and reproductive health care! And while health care providers should take this into consideration every day, PRIDE month is a good time to review policies and practices in health care and how we can offer more inclusive, quality care.

Those who identify as LGBTQ are not a monolithic population, and people within that community have different needs, experiences with barriers and levels of access to care.

All people who are capable of becoming pregnant—which may include queer women, transmasculine people and nonbinary people—may have a need for full-spectrum pregnancy, family planning and counseling and referral. LGBTQ people may need STI and HIV testing and treatment; mammograms, Pap smears and other services related to reproductive cancers; screening and support for intimate partner and sexual violence; and gender-affirming services.

A recent study suggests that queer people who can get pregnant (except lesbians) are more likely than their straight counterparts to have an unintended pregnancy, a pregnancy when younger than 20 or an abortion, a finding that may suggest structural barriers to contraceptive care and a need for LGBTQ-inclusive comprehensive sex education. Research has shown that lesbian and bisexual women are less likely than straight women to perceive themselves as being at risk of acquiring STIs, a perception associated with minimized use of preventive reproductive health services.

Other research has found queer women do not access routine preventive screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer at the same rate as their straight peers. These differences in perception and action regarding sexual and reproductive health services can lead LGBTQ individuals to have fewer diagnoses and treatments than their straight counterparts.

A heteronormative worldview centers straight people and relationships, such as by assuming that queer women do not need birth control. As a result, LGBTQ people often do not receive comprehensive sexual health counseling, screenings or care, because providers assume they do not need certain services or information. 

When it comes to LGBTQ patients, health care systems and providers have historically prioritized HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, which largely centers men who have sex with men, and more recently have focused on gender-affirming care for transgender people. These types of care are crucial, but do not represent the whole picture of sexual and reproductive health care that LGBTQ individuals need.

Many sexual and reproductive health care providers have good intentions yet lack cultural competency and training to adequately address LGBTQ patients’ needs and make them feel comfortable in a medical setting. Stories abound of LGBTQ patients having bad experiences while seeking sexual and reproductive health care. For instance, providers often give contraceptive counseling based on their assumptions about a patient’s sexual behavior, and non-contraceptive benefits of birth control may not be taken into account.

These biases undermine LGBTQ patients’ contraceptive care by assuming they are not at risk for pregnancy or STI transmission. Untrained providers also may fail to address a particular concern for transmasculine and nonbinary patients about how hormonal birth control containing estrogen or progesterone may interact with gender-affirming testosterone, and whether testosterone alone is a contraceptive (it is not).

There is much more work to be done to ensure that LGBTQ people have the resources, information and care they want and need from a culturally competent, affordable, affirming, inclusive and accessible sexual and reproductive health care system. But there are signs of progress! Increasingly, health care providers and administrators are integrating sexual and reproductive health care for LGBTQ patients into their practices in order to break down silos and ensure access to excellent care. One such promising step is family planning providers increasingly offering gender-affirming care, such as hormone therapy, to their patients. In recent years, state policymakers and advocates have also championed policies and curricula to implement LGBTQ-inclusive sex education.

Sexual and reproductive health advocates must stand in support of LGBTQ patients and ensure they receive health care that is tailored for their individual and unique needs!"

Check out the PRIDE events in Wyoming!

Click on the city to find more info!
Cheyenne- More info to come
Men's Health Month
June is Men's Health Month, a national observance used to foster awareness of, and conversation about, men’s health issues!
During this month, care providers can take the opportunity to encourage men to seek necessary medical treatment and advice and encourage boys to be involved with their personal health, whether it be physical, emotional or mental!

Getting men and boys to talk about their health can be tricky though. For instance, a Cleveland Clinic in 2019 conducted a survey of men finding out that:

  • 72 percent of respondents said they would rather be doing household chores, like cleaning toilets, than going to the doctor.
  • 65 percent of respondents said they avoid going to the doctor as long as possible.
  • 20 percent admitted they aren’t always honest with their doctors about their health.
  • 37 percent said they had withheld information from their doctors in the past, specifically because they weren’t ready to deal with the potential diagnosis that might result if they told the truth.

And we know that all this medical avoidance and withholding of the truth puts men at risk. But wait, there's more possibly keeping men and boys from seeking healthcare!

There is the superhero syndrome, which is explained as men wanting to see themselves as forever strong and capable of handling anything. “They see going to the doctor as a weakness.”

For many men it's… vulnerability. “Vulnerability sucks...Men don’t like being vulnerable.”

Then there is talking about sex. So much of our nations sex education is failing not only women, LGBTQIA+ youth and minorities, but also young men. Young men need to learn about their own bodies and sexual identities, puberty, condoms and contraception, healthy relationships and consent. Young men also need to know that their mental health matters and it alright to seek help.

Read the article here

So take time this June to put on something blue, reach out to the men and boys in your life, and start a conversation about Men's Health!
Wyoming Title X Clinic of the Month
400 East First St, Suite 313
Casper, WY 82601

Call Us: (307) 439-2033