Aspirus Media Center

Addressing the Unique Health Care Needs of the LGBTQ+ Community


Sam Markert, Aspirus Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner

LGBTQ Health Awareness Week serves as a poignant reminder of the unique challenges encountered by the LGBTQ+ community in accessing health care. From March 18 to 22, health care professionals, activists, and organizations come together to raise awareness and advocate for inclusivity. At Aspirus Health, Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner Sam Markert emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing these challenges, stating, “Awareness is key.”


“This week is about acknowledging the diverse health care needs within the LGBTQ+ community and ensuring they are heard, seen, and cared for – that their voices matter," Markert affirms. "It's a statement to let them know that we hear them, care about their health concerns, and stand by them."


Furthermore, it presents an opportunity to educate the broader community, fostering understanding and sensitivity toward the distinctive health concerns and barriers faced by LGBTQ+ individuals.


Health challenges for this community can range from heightened vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections to increased risks of certain cancers, substance abuse, and mental health issues.


"Regular screening and access to preventive measures are essential in our efforts to treat these conditions and combat HIV transmission within the LGBTQ+ community,” says Markert.


However, stigma and discrimination often loom large in health care settings, presenting significant barriers to LGBTQ+ individuals seeking care. As a result, up to one third of LGBTQ+ Americans avoid seeing a health care provider.


"We need to create environments of acceptance and understanding where LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe to seek the care they need,” stresses Markert.


One key aspect is ensuring inclusivity during the intake process, which entails asking the patient about sexual orientation and gender identity, allowing health care providers to deliver more personalized and effective care.


“Providing competent and compassionate care to the LGBTQ+ community really doesn't differ from offering patient-centered care to any other health care group,” reassures Markert. “No matter how a patient identifies, the more information we have about them, the better we tailor care to their specific needs.”


The best way for anyone to prevent and treat their health concerns is to have regular visits with a primary care provider. To find one in your area, visit For guidance in selecting and navigating LGBTQ+-friendly care, visit or


Aspirus Health aims to provide an inclusive environment and culture for all of our employees, clinicians and people we serve. We believe everyone has the right to be treated as equals regardless of any differences in identity, race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, or socioeconomic status. For more information about Aspirus’ commitment to our Social Responsibility Vision, visit



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