This is a completely personal decision. If services are not provided anonymously, one negative consequence of disclosing that you are involved in the sex trades that this might be documented in your medical record.

Your medical record is confidential, meaning that anyone outside of that clinic or network of clinics will not be able to access this record. However, other physicians at the same clinic or practice or at partner-clinics that share records may be able to see that information. Additionally, courts can subpoena a doctor to release your record, although this is very rare. Finally, insurance companies won’t see your medical file, but they will see what tests and procedures the doctor performed.  If you are insured under a parent or partner, you might want to consider getting STI periodic STI test at a confidential clinic–there are plenty in Chicago that offer testing for free or a marginal cost.

Ultimately, there are some issues (like skeletal-muscular injuries or chronic pain, ongoing depression or anxiety, etc) that are completely unrelated to sex work. However, if you’re seeking testing or have a health-care issue that may be related to having multiple sex partners, it is important is to give the health-care provider you’re seeing an indication of this behavior so they can consider this when diagnosing you or giving you recommendations.

If you’re uncomfortable saying that you’re involved in the sex trade, you can always say that you’re in an open relationship and have had several casual partners, and you don’t know the status or risk levels of these partners.

All of the healthcare providers on our website have experience working with people in the sex trade and are recommended by individuals in the sex trade. If you are using a provider who is not listed here, you can call the receptionist in advance and ask them what experience they have working with people who trade sex for money and what their approach is to working with this group. Or you can email meg@swop-chicago.org, and we’ll screen the provider for you.

For information about how to talk to health-care providers about being involved in the sex trade, check out PERSIST-Health’s Tip Sheet.

(KK)

 

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