What do you say when your general practitioner asks why you as a lesbian need a pap smear?

Some good advice on handling this situation -“ along with tips on a wide range of other health issues -“ can be found in the new ACON publication Opening The Window -“ A Guide To Lesbian Health.

Launched this week, the publication has been designed to help guide lesbians through the health care maze, ACON CEO Stevie Clayton said.

Dr Liz Rickman, member of the Australian Lesbian Medical Association, said from her 20 years working in general practice, she knew many lesbian women experienced discrimination, homophobia and outright discomfort in facing the health care system. ACON’s lesbian health officer Somali Cerise concurred with this, stating that research showed many lesbians experience difficulty in finding appropriate health care.

The booklet, to be distributed across the state through ACON branches, women’s health centres, sexual heath centres and general practice surgeries, aims to ease some of that difficulty.

Opening The Window provides information, referral and helpful hints on finding the best health care and service providers on a range of issues. The pocket-sized booklet has been developed with a range of health care and community service providers, said Clayton.

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