All women face certain health risks. However, sexual minority women, such as those who identify as lesbian or bisexual as well as women who have sex with women, have some specific health concerns.
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.
Sexual minority women are at higher risk of depression and anxiety. Contributing factors include social alienation, discrimination, rejection by loved ones, abuse and violence. The problem might be more severe for sexual minority women who are not “out” to others and those who lack social support.
If you think you might be depressed, talk to your doctor or seek help from a mental health provider. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, confide in a trusted friend or loved one. Sharing your feelings might be the first step toward getting treatment.
Certain sexually transmitted infections such as human papillomavirus, bacterial vaginosis chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis can also spread between women. Oral sex and sexual behaviour involving digital-vaginal or digital-anal contact, particularly with shared penetrative sex toys, can spread infections as well. Female sexual contact is also a possible means of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.