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Health news and blog

    Primary care

    Why primary care is important for LGBTQ+ people

    two men seeing the doctor in the office

    Primary care is an important part of living your healthiest life possible, which is why we work hard at Intermountain Health to explain the benefits to everyone.

    It’s also important to make sure that people in minority communities have the same access to health care as everyone else.

    That’s why Intermountain Health has providers who are LGBTQ+ clinically competent.

    This means certain providers are specifically trained on how to provide the best care to people who identify as LGBTQ+.

    For context, a 2024 poll by Gallup found that 7.6% of all U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ+, with one in five of those being from Gen Z (people born between 1997 and 2012).

    One of the many reasons why it’s important to make sure that people in the LGBTQ+ community have access to primary care is because it can be the starting point for diagnosing and treating medical conditions.

    Dr. Kara Chaudhary, the Interim Medical Director of LGBTQ+ Health at Intermountain Health said, “For me, it’s important to provide good care to LGBTQ+ patients in the community because it’s a community that I’m a part of myself and it’s one that is disproportionately impacted by a lot of health care needs. LGBTQ+ patients face higher rates of chronic illnesses and are known to die earlier as a result of these conditions.”

    This is why the LGBTQ+ Health team at Intermountain Health is continually working to change this by removing potential roadblocks to care for this community.

    “A lot of patients within the LGBTQ+ community face unique barriers to care and have faced discrimination from previous providers, which can turn them away from receiving health care […] when a patient comes here, they know they’re going to have someone who understands their health needs,” said Dr. Chaudhary.

    “It’s one that’s very important to me personally to help people, because this is a preventable thing that we can be helping people live longer and healthier lives and it’s something that’s so easy to do well if we just do our best at it.”

    Intermountain has an LGBTQ+ health specific clinic at the Salt Lake Clinic, which mainly focuses on providing primary care.

    This includes vaccinations, routine screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and yearly preventative health exams.

    Having an LGBTQ+ competent provider will ensure you’re screened and treated appropriately to keep you as healthy as possible.

    Dr. Chaudhary said, “The MPOX vaccine was something that was more prevalent in the past but also, it’s a possibility that we get another wave this summer so it’s still something that we’re encouraging for patients.”

    Something the LGBTQ+ Health team has been working on is expanding access to PrEP and PEP for HIV.

    “The way that we’re planning on doing this is by launching a website that patients can go to where they can fill out a form, speak with a pharmacist, and get the PrEP mailed to them in their own home without having to deal with an office visit, or co-pays, or a lot of the barriers that prevent patients from being able to get that care,” said Dr. Chaudhary.

    The Interim Medical Director also said that anyone who is sexually active and is having partners who don’t know their HIV status, or could potentially be positive, would potentially benefit from being on PrEP or having access to PEP.

    Some Intermountain Health providers who are LGBTQ+ clinically competent also offer video visits which can provide access to primary care for people who live in more remote areas.

    Primary care providers can also be the first step towards accessing mental health care that fits the unique needs of LGBTQ+ people.

    Dr. Chaudhary said, “In the primary care setting we offer treatment for depression, anxiety, lots of common mental health conditions. For more advanced conditions, we have a number of psychologists and psychiatrists we can refer you to.”

    Couple seeing a doctor

    Use our Find a Doctor tool to help you find a medical provider in your area who is designated as LGBTQ+ clinically competent. Some may require you to be an established patient first before you can receive virtual care.

    Find your provider now