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Barriers to access to health for the LGBTIQA+ population: a debt from medicine

Sex-gender diversities have historically been segregated and discriminated against only because of their sexual orientation.

This is not unrelated to the medical field and, unfortunately, this segregation and discrimination, biases and even mistreatment have also been seen in health spaces that deeply harm LGBTIQA+ people and end up distancing them from the health system, which It can have serious consequences, postponing controls or delaying diagnoses of different pathologies.

This makes it essential that public policies are generated that seek to alleviate this situation and that as health professionals we are agents of change. For this reason, as a Medical Association, we have committed ourselves to this cause. We seek a more inclusive country that welcomes diversity and respects the identity of everyone, creating safe spaces in the areas of medical practice.

Under this imperative, we have carried out various actions as the Department of Gender and Health of Colmed, from training, with a successful course on LGBTIQA+ health concepts and its respective manual, to provide tools to health professionals to be more inclusive and respectful. , and correct so many errors that are often committed unconsciously, due to the social weight of the heteronorm; the creation of a list of friendly LGBTIQA+ professionals, in conjunction with the lesbian magazine Burdas.cl; and, recently, the implementation of an affirmative health operation for the LGBTIQA+ population, in the context of the month of pride.

We carried out this last activity with the important sponsorship and collaboration of the Equality Subdirectorate of the Municipality of Santiago, in the person of Mayor Irací Hassler, who offered all her support and provided the physical space for carrying out the operation. Care was provided in the specialties of Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Infectious Diseases, Mental Health and Gynecology, among others, several of which are in clear deficit in public health care. The attention was provided by more than 20 professionals, who came as volunteers to the call of our department, from such important civil society groups as Gynecologists Chile, Intersexuales Chile and AHF Chile, which contributed with the free collection of rapid test samples. for HIV.

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The people treated in the operation expressed their enthusiasm and good reception for the initiative and stressed the importance of being attended by trained professionals, who asked them how they wanted to be treated, making them feel comfortable – many for the first time – in health care .

The challenge is not easy: to be able to replicate this safe space in each health center, in each care throughout the country. For this, we need the commitment of those who work in health to be trained, updated and generate changes in treatment that stop distancing LGBTIQA+ people from health. As the Department of Gender and Health, we will continue to generate instances that allow progress in this direction and make them available to anyone who wants to join in this task of building a more inclusive health with a gender approach.

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  • The content expressed in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of The counter.

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