I’ve never had an issue with my own sexual orientation but being out to my GP means that I can be myself and help them understand more about my individual health needs.
I’m aware that as a person who is HIV+ that I may have some complex needs and I think GPs do need to know your HIV status and how it might affect your health and the way you feel about yourself. Unless you feel comfortable and confident in sharing your HIV status, it can be really hard to talk about how it can affect your life.
It was difficult sometimes when I was feeling particularly vulnerable but it has been necessary for me to have an open and honest relationship with my GP. I had a nervous breakdown as a result of an abusive relationship and my GP really supported me through this.
I think the test with any GP and patient relationship is that when you are at your lowest, they are the one person you can go to for help. My GP actually came in to see me on his day off when he knew I had no-one else to support me which I thought was way above the call of duty.
Over the years, I’ve found that the practice I am registered with has become more aware of things like substance misuse, chemsex, and same-gender domestic violence just to name a few topics. Added to all this I struggled for five years with undiagnosed early onset dementia. When I finally received my diagnosis it meant that I could be more vocal about my experiences which has taken a long time for me to put into perspective and without the support of my GP it would have taken me even longer.
Being treated as an individual and never feeling that I was being judged has made me feel that I am being continuously cared for by my doctor and the practice and I would not hesitate to recommend them to any LGBT person struggling with any issue.
Today, I’m in a much better place to be able to look after my own health and I can now help other people and let my GP know how I have progressed, thanks to their support which was lovely when they told me how proud they were to see how much I’d developed from where I was.
- Patrick, Manchester