Improving Access to Sexual Health Information for Disabled LGBT People

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2018 National Disabled Members' Conference
6 July 2018
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that Deaf and disabled Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) people may experience barriers in accessing essential sexual health services due to lack of appropriate communication and understanding from service providers. Problems include lack of BSL interpreters and electronic notetakers and test results not being communicated in ways that can be understood. Some service providers also continue to stereotype disabled people as sexually inactive. Disabled LGBT people also find their sexual orientation and gender identity is often wrongly assumed or ignored, with significant implications for the sexual health advice and care they receive. Disabled LGBT women face assumptions about their sexuality and heterosexist myths about sex between women. This can lead to disabled LGBT women not receiving advice on sexually transmitted diseases and not being offered regular Chlamydia testing or cervical screening

The lack of clear, appropriate communication can lead to confusion and misunderstanding and can potentially put disabled LGBT people at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to information, explanations and test results remaining unavailable in appropriate accessible formats such as BSL. This may also prevent new medical advances, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (commonly known as PrEP), a medication in pill form that protects against HIV infection, becoming widely available to disabled LGBT people.

Removing barriers to access and breaking down stereotypes can lead to improved health outcomes for LGBT disabled people and reduce costs for the NHS.

Conference therefore calls on the National Disabled Members Committee to work with the National LGBT Committee to:

1.Raise awareness that disabled LGBT people need to access sexual health services and may need support to access information on conditions and treatments.

2.Work with Health and Local Government service groups to lobby local authorities and the NHS where appropriate for improved staff training and more accessible information around sexual health, for example BSL and various alternative and accessible formats including DVD’s and You Tube and written information supported with pictograms (Makaton)

3.Signpost disabled LGBT members to accessible information on sexual health.