TORONTO – In 2017, it is difficult to find a doctor with a clear understanding of the health problems of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) community, according to several experts consulted by #ONfr . The challenge is twofold when you want to obtain services in French.
“There is not enough French speaking physicians to meet the needs,” says Gilles Marchildon, Executive Director of Reflet Salvéo, a lead agency advising the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) Greater Toronto Area.
In 2012, Reflet Salvéo noted the existence of deficiencies in the French-language health system to help victims of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Among other things, there was a lack of case management for Francophones. Five years later, progress has been made on this issue, says Marchildon.
For example, Reflet Salvéo’s Executive Director recalls the creation of two case management positions at the Center francophone de Toronto (CFT), which gives a major boost to the community.
“There is still work to be done,” he believes all the same.
Mr. Marchildon added that the health problems of the LGBTQ community are becoming more and more known, helping to advance the cause.
Incomprehension of health professionals
Arnaud Baudry, president of FrancoQueer, shares in part the report of Reflet Salvéo. However, it demonstrates that there are many challenges in the LGBTQ environment.
“There is a lack of understanding and lack of knowledge within the medical community regarding transgender people” – Arnaud Baudry.
The president of the francophone association of the LGBTQ community in Ontario says he heard several stories of transgender people about the difficulty of communicating these issues openly with physicians. The issue is even more important when it comes to obtaining health care in French.
“There are services in French but the problems are the same and the patients are faced with caregivers who do not fully understand their reality,” says FrancoQueer’s president.
“It is unbelievable that health services are one of the places where LGBTQ people are most uncomfortable when they are most in need of services to care for themselves, ” – Arnaud Baudry.
Mr. Baudry also regrets that the changes expected by the LGBTQ community within the Ontario health system are not occurring quickly enough.
A gray area around the PrEP
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), used to fight HIV, is becoming more and more popular in Canada.
However, Baudry and Marchildon note that there is still a gray area in Ontario with health professionals.
The cure can have two uses: either HIV prevention or the treatment of the virus. Its cost reaches $ 1,000 a month, says the president of FrancoQueer, which is a serious brake on its use.
In addition, Mr. Baudry regretted that doctors were not aware of the preventive use of the drug and that it was often the patient’s responsibility to inform the healthcare professionals.
For the president of FrancoQueer, it is clear that better education could make a big difference in the use of this drug.