“Eighty per cent of my client base are Gay, Gender Nonbinary and Trans” explained Dr George Forgan-Smith, an LGBTQI and Kink Friendly Doctor working from Collins St Medical Centre in Melbourne CBD.

George spoke with Star Observer about the impacts of COVID-19 on both his practice, and on the community more broadly.

“From a community perspective, ours is a congregating one,” George explains, “What we have had taken away from us is the ability to meet in groups, people can’t go to the pub anymore, or the sauna or get on the apps as much… The social distancing has been very difficult, particularly in terms of sexuality.

“I think a lot of gay businesses have struggled – pubs have struggled, sex on premises venues have struggled and even gay retailers. We’ve really had a big change.

“As a gay doctor, a lot of my money is made through sex – by treating people for STI’s, offering PREP or HIV medication. These numbers have dropped significantly because people are not having as much sex.”

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 George continues by saying, “I’ve moved to more of an education role and am producing a lot of educational materials, because I think that’s been useful.

“The other interesting aspect from a medical perspective, is the introduction of Telehealth. I think this is fantastic, as it now means I can offer services beyond Melbourne and I’m treating people right across Australia, which for the gay community this is great.”

George concludes the interview by adding, “The most important thing I would say, at this point in time and without a potential cure is that we need to really double down on social distancing and hand washing, to really look after each other.

“If you’re hooking up, and we understand people need intimate contact, I think it’s really important to have an open conversation about your risks.

“If this helps our communication skills between each other, that will be a really good thing.”

Collins Street Medical Centre

9654 6088

Level 7/267 Collins St, Melbourne

www.collinsstmedicalcentre.com.au

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