Ask the Doc

The non-judgmental place that you can bounce your medical questions off an MD, without a copay!

“I feel fine… so why do I need to regularly see a doctor?!”

First of all, I admit my bias. I’m a physician, so o f course I’m gonna tell you to make time for a check-up, right?! But there are some really good reasons that you should make sure that you see a primary care doctor at least once a year.

1. You are fabulous and worth it. You wouldn’t buy a Ferrari and not take it to get the oil changed, now would you? Your health is what allows you to love and live your life to the fullest. Regular check-ups screen for breast and testicular cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, anemia, and sexually transmitted infections. All of these things could potentially make your life far less fabulous and, most, when caught early, are very treatable. Schedule an appointment. Make it for your birthday (or your half birthday).

2. Doctors are not as scary as they used to be. The old white-haired guy who lacks sensitivity training is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Young doctors are being trained to treat YOU and ME. Training especially aimed at folks who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered is becoming part of the curriculum at medical schools across the country. There are online sites that can give you suggestions for gay or gay-friendly physicians (glma.org or glccpgh.org).

3. Paying for basic medical care is getting easier and easier. Even if you don’t have insurance, many local family practice offices, community health centers, or Planned Parenthood offices have a sliding scale payment for a simple check-up. And, getting insurance is becoming more affordable by way of The Affordable Care Act (www.healthcare.gov). With this new law, more and more employers will be offering options for insurance, and state-based insurance plans have already started to become available to low-income and chronically illindividuals.

Dr. Rebecca Smith takes care of sick little kids and gives out free medical advice from way down south in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Her favorite remedy is chicken soup for a cold (and she will give you the scientific explanation for it, as well!).