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Everyone's health is equally important – no one should face discrimination or poor treatment when accessing health or care services.


Health services

Healthcare services have a duty to provide care that's fair and equal. LGBT+ people face the same general health concerns as everyone else, though some issues disproportionately or specifically affect LGBT+ people. It's important to see a doctor if you're concerned about your health. If you've faced discrimination or poor treatment in the past, it's understandable to worry that it might happen again, but avoiding going back to your doctor could put your health at risk.

Every GP surgery should have a policy on equality and diversity, which you can ask to see at any time. Any information you share with NHS staff is confidential and there are strict laws to ensure health records are kept secure.

If you've been treated unfairly by a health service because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you can make a complaint.

Find out more about making a complaint about NHS services on the NHS website

Sexual health

The best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to practise safer sex, using condoms and dental dams. If you have a new sexual partner, or more than one sexual partner, unprotected sex could put you at risk of an STI.

Rates of STIs among older people have risen over the past ten years. There's also been a rise in the transmission of HIV among older people across the UK. 

It's important to remember that STIs can also be transmitted through nonpenetrative sex.

Not all STIs have symptoms, so it’s important to have regular sexual health check-ups. If you’d prefer not to see your usual doctor, you can make an appointment at a sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Some of these are drop-in centres where you don’t need an appointment.

Find your local sexual health clinic on the NHS website

Mental wellbeing

If you're feeling out of sorts it can be difficult to talk about it. But lots of people in the UK are affected by a mental health problem – there's nothing to be ashamed about. Although dealing with a mental health problem isn't an inevitable part of ageing, research has shown that older LGBT+ people’s mental wellbeing can be affected if they've experienced years of prejudice.

Symptoms of mental health problems are complex and vary widely – but they might include feeling sad or hopeless and losing interest in activities you previously enjoyed. There can also be physical symptoms such as sleeping too much or too little, changes to your appetite, and various aches and pains.

Talking to someone about how you’re feeling might seem daunting, but it can help you start to feel better. Whatever your situation, you don’t need to deal with it on your own.

There are lots of people who can help. Talking to someone is a good place to start – they might be grateful for the opportunity to talk, too. 

If you don't want to reach out to someone close to you, you can speak to your doctor. After listening to your symptoms, your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. These might include self-help, lifestyle changes, prescribed medication or talking therapies.

Living with dementia as an LGBT+ person

Living with dementia as an LGBT+ person can present certain challenges. For example, you might find it harder to remember who you've told about your sexual orientation or gender identity, or you might find accessing support more difficult.

Alzheimer's Society's guide LGBTQ+: Living with dementia provides information and advice about how to live well with dementia 

Download here