Disclosure Matters: Enhancing Patient-Provider Communication is Necessary to Improve the Health of Sexual Minority Adolescents

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Comments on an article by J. W. Luk et al. (see record [rid]2017-36085-001[/rid]). The work of Luk et al. in this month’s Journal of Adolescent Health addresses a current challenge within health-care systems—developing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)-sensitive care to proactively meet the unique needs of sexual minority adolescents. This work has helped to evaluate sexual orientation differences in health-care access and health promoting physician advice received by a population that remains under-resourced and underserved. Although both sexual minority adolescent boys and girls experienced disparities in aspects of health-care access, findings by Luk et al. suggest that sexual minority adolescent boys have unrecognized medical needs. This leads to a critical question of how to improve health-promoting advice and screening to better serve sexual minority adolescent boys. Sexual minority adolescents, specifically adolescent boys, may fear rejection from their medical providers when disclosing their sexual orientation and sexual behavior. The desire for privacy and confidentiality may hinder discussions with their routine medical providers out of caution that doing so could change the provider’s attitudes toward them and impact the quality of care they receive. Perceived stigma in clinical settings may discourage sexual minority adolescents from accessing needed health-care services to advance health, sexual health, and overall well-being. Findings from Luk et al. have implications for future public health research and for health promotion interventions, practices, and policies for sexual minority adolescents residing in the U.S. Much work is needed to better understand the unique healthcare needs of sexual minority adolescents to identify points of intervention and to evaluate best practices to incorporate the sensitive assessment of sexual orientation as part of routine care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)




Hubach, R. D. (2017, November 1). Disclosure Matters: Enhancing Patient-Provider Communication is Necessary to Improve the Health of Sexual Minority Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. Elsevier USA. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.08.021

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