Quite recently, I went to my local GP (a male doctor) and told him I had begun to get severe pains in the groin and abdomen. His reply was “Oh, nothing to worry about. Plenty of women get it.”
I then told him that I was sleeping with a girl who had had severe salpingitis quite recently – could I have caught it from her? “No, no – you’re not lesbians or anything like that, are you?” I told him that, yes, we were. His attitude then became somewhat hostile – “Off to the VD clinic with you, then.” – and he gave me some painkillers. He made no internal examination, and did not examine me in any other way.
The next week I was on holiday, and had to get antibiotics from the local GP, as I had begun to have attacks of sharp pains. I went back to my GP and told him this, and was given more painkillers and told to rest.
Later that week my girlfriend had to take me to the casualty dept, of the local hospital.
I was given some pills and told to get more from the doctor, which I did.
On going to the VD clinic, I was asked whom I had slept with recently. I gave the names of about five women. They were not interested in these, and wanted to know when I had last slept with a man, so I told them, and said it was about six months ago. I kept going for check-ups, and was told I did not have VD, but an inflammation of the fallopian tubes.
The doctors’ attitudes ranged from amusement, to sarcasm, and lastly open hostility. One of the doctors wanted to know if I was butch or femme I explained that I wasn’t into role-playing, etc., at which he was most amused and surprised, and wanted to question me further. I answered his questions, as I felt he needed educating, but he was merely titillated.
I asked him if it were possible for women to transmit sexual infections to each other. He did not appear to know, and ended up by answering me in this fashion: “Well, I would imagine it would be rather difficult to get, er, ‘yours’ on top of ’hers’, wouldn’t it?’” “No, it’s not that difficult, actually.” I then asked him if we would be at risk by plating each other (cunnilingus). He was very embarrassed by this, and again could give no definite answer.
I was given more pills, and will now have to go for further examinations.
In the first place, I think this could have been avoided with more help and interest from my doctor; in the second place, there should be more readily available information about transmission of VD etc. between women, as gay women do go to these clinics, and need help as much as anybody else.