LGBTQIA+ Students Have Unique Needs
The University of Pittsburgh Student Health Service is committed to providing confidential, quality care in a safe and friendly environment, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA+) students. College and graduate school is a time when many people question or explore their sexuality and sexual orientation. No matter where you may be in terms of discovering your sexuality, we are here for you.
Most of our providers have taken Allies Network Training to increase their ability to provide nonjudgmental, supportive care for LGBTQIA+ students. Our office understands the unique healthcare needs of LGBTQIA+ students. You may be wondering how the healthcare needs of LGBTQIA+ students are different than those of the heterosexual population. Did you know that substance abuse, mental health problems, and sexually transmitted diseases affect LGBTQIA+ students in different frequencies than heterosexuals?
The University of Pittsburgh Student Health Service serves all students, including those who identify as gender-variant, gender queer, transgender, and/or transsexual. Our clinical staff works in conjunction with the individual student to address the health issues most important to the student. We know transgender students are sometimes hesitant to access health care, so we work hard to create and maintain a space where students can ask questions, get answers, and feel supported when making decisions. We don’t use any official “standard of care.” Instead, we regard students as individuals and coordinate care with students individually and with the University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center, or other local mental health care providers, to help students navigate their specific medical and mental health needs, concerns, and risks.
We’re not here to judge; we’re here to help. The University of Pittsburgh Student Health Service provides primary care, as well as reproductive and sexual health care, tailored to fit an individual student’s specific needs. Thus, the health care provided takes into account biologic sex, any anatomic variations, particularly following surgery, and specific sexual practices. We can assist the student interested in hormone replacement therapy with local referrals to specialty care. We can also provide referrals for mental health and other transgender related services if needed.
SHS meets on a regular basis with the president of the Rainbow Alliance to discuss issues and collaborate on future programs. This exchange of ideas has had a positive impact on both organizations and fosters an environment that supports healthy living and a health education.