If you don't want to disclose your same-sex relationship or sexual identity, you might be less likely to seek help after an assault. Look for a doctor who is curious, empathic and respectful of your specific needs. Recognize domestic violence Domestic violence can affect anyone in an intimate relationship. If you think you might be depressed, talk to your doctor or seek help from a mental health provider. Get tested and have your partner tested. Don't have unprotected sex unless you're certain you and your partner aren't infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections — whether you have sex with a man or a woman. During oral sex, use a small piece of latex dental dam or latex barrier. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, confide in a trusted friend or loved one. Share your sexual orientation with your provider, and ask about routine screenings recommended for women in your age group — such as blood pressure and cholesterol measurements and screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer.
Wash sex toys with hot soapy water between uses or cover them with a fresh condom. Seek help for substance abuse Sexual minority women report higher rates of tobacco use and alcohol and drug dependence. Threats from the batterer to "out" you by telling friends, loved ones, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation Fear of discrimination Staying in an abusive relationship might leave you depressed, anxious and hopeless. Organizations such as GLMA also might provide referrals. If you choose to use injectable drugs, don't share needles. If you're under the influence, you're more likely to take sexual risks. Safeguard your mental health Sexual minority women are at higher risk of depression and anxiety. If you don't want to disclose your same-sex relationship or sexual identity, you might be less likely to seek help after an assault. The problem might be more severe for sexual minority women who are not "out" to others and those who lack social support. Sign up now Health issues for lesbians and women who have sex with women Know important health issues for lesbians and women who have sex with women — from sexually transmitted infections to depression — and get tips for taking charge of your health. During oral sex, use a small piece of latex dental dam or latex barrier. Although your individual risks are shaped by many factors beyond your sexual orientation and practices — including family history and age — it's important to understand common health issues for sexual minority women and steps you can take to stay healthy. Local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health, mental health or community centers often provide substance abuse treatment. Share your sexual orientation with your provider, and ask about routine screenings recommended for women in your age group — such as blood pressure and cholesterol measurements and screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer. Sexual minority women might be more likely to stay silent about this kind of violence due to: If you have a substance abuse concern, remember that help is available. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections Certain sexually transmitted infections — such as human papillomavirus HPV , bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis — can spread between women. Contributing factors include social alienation, discrimination, rejection by loved ones, abuse and violence. During digital vaginal or anal penetration, consider using a latex glove. Share any other health concerns you might have with your doctor as well. Recognize domestic violence Domestic violence can affect anyone in an intimate relationship. The GLMA website is one place to find referrals for doctors. If you're a target of domestic violence, tell someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, loved one, health care provider or other close contact. Look for a doctor who is curious, empathic and respectful of your specific needs. Another reliable way to avoid sexually transmitted infections is to stay in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who isn't infected.
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