A community based lesbian sexual health service - clinically justified or politically correct?

Br J Fam Plann. 1999 Oct;25(3):93-5.


Lesbian sexual health care is still a neglected issue. In order to address this, a needs assessment was carried out in Glasgow amongst the lesbian community and 200 responses were received. More than 40% of the respondents said they were unable to disclose their sexual orientation to their GP and were unable to discuss sexual health issues with them. Eighty-one percent said there was a need for a lesbian sexual health service and 71% said they would use such a service if it existed. Therefore a pilot clinic was set up in Glasgow and was co-ordinated by a multidisciplinary advisory group. The clinical component of the service was audited and it was found that gynaecology and fertility issues were the most common presenting condition (52%), followed by psychosocial issues (26%). Genitourinary problems, such as vaginal discharge, constituted 20% of presentations. Client satisfaction with the clinic was high. This pilot service showed that areas of sexual health care, such as the need for inclusion in cervical smear programmes and equality of access to assisted conception, are issues which are important to this minority group and which need to be addressed. The clinic is now ongoing as a result of the pilot scheme and is the only family planning based lesbian health service in the UK.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Genital Diseases, Female / classification
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Homosexuality, Female* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Pilot Projects
  • Scotland
  • Sex Counseling
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / classification
  • Urologic Diseases / classification
  • Vaginal Discharge / classification
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Women's Health Services*