Primary care providers' willingness to continue gender-affirming hormone therapy for transgender patients

Fam Pract. 2018 Sep 18;35(5):576-581. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmx119.


Background: Most transgender individuals either use or are interested in using gender-affirming hormone therapy (HT). Making gender-affirming HT available in primary care is critical for quality care to this vulnerable population. The barriers that transgender patients experience to accessing this treatment may be exacerbated if primary care providers (PCPs) will not provide it. Little is known about PCPs' willingness to administer HT to transgender patients.

Objective: To examine whether PCPs are willing to continue prescribing HT for transgender patients and the factors that predict such willingness.

Methods: An online survey of internal and family medicine physicians and residents practising in a large integrated Midwest health system (n = 308); 158 responded to the relevant questions (51.3%).

Results: Approximately 50% of respondents were willing to continue HT for transgender patients. Most participants had previously met a transgender person (77%), and approximately half of them had cared for a transgender patient in the past 5 years. Multivariate logistic regression results indicate that attending physicians had lower odds of willingness to continue HT compared with medical residents, and those who reported perceived capability of providing routine care to transgender patients had higher odds of willingness.

Conclusions: Only about half of PCPs surveyed were willing to continue HT for transgender patients. Our study indicates that both personal and clinical factors play a role. Future research should address ways to increase PCPs' willingness and comfort related to continuing HT for transgender patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Midwestern United States
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transgender Persons*