Nao Medical: An LGBTQI+ Affirming Medical Office

Nao Medical is a physician-woman-led, LGBTQI+ affirming medical organization. Nao Medical is listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Prevention Information Network (CDC NPIN) as well as a SAMHSA and OASAS listed site that caters to all of the specific needs of LGBTQI+ individuals.

LGBTQI+ Terms:

Understanding LGBTQI+ terms, gender identities, and sexual orientations can provide a valuable foundation for recognizing and respecting the diversity of human experiences. 


Here’s a simplified guide to some key terms:

LGBTQI+: An acronym representing various groups within the community:

  • Lesbian: A woman who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other women.
  • Gay: A term primarily used to describe a man who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other men, though it can also be used as an umbrella term for homosexual individuals regardless of gender.
  • Bisexual: An individual who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to more than one gender.
  • Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, someone assigned male at birth who identifies as female.
  • Queer: Once a pejorative term, now reclaimed by some as a catch-all term for the community. It can also signify someone who doesn’t adhere to conventional sexual orientations or gender identities.
  • Intersex: Individuals born with physical sex markers (such as genitals, internal reproductive organs, chromosome patterns) that don’t fit typical definitions for male or female bodies.
  • +: Represents other identities not specifically covered by the initial letters, including non-binary, asexual, pansexual, and more.


Gender Identity: A personal conception of oneself as male, female, a blend of both, or neither, and can correlate with or differ from the individual’s sex at birth.

Sexual Orientation: Refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Orientation is not necessarily linked to one’s gender identity.

Non-Binary: An umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively male or female. Non-binary individuals may identify as having two or more genders, no gender, or having a fluctuating gender identity.

Asexual: Individuals who experience little to no sexual attraction to others, though they may still experience romantic attraction.

Pansexual: A person who experiences emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to others regardless of their sex or gender identity.

Gender-Expressive/Non-Conforming: Refers to individuals who express their gender outside traditional norms associated with the binary male/female categories.

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LGBTQI+ Health

Improving LGBTQI+ health outcomes requires a united effort to foster a healthcare setting that honors and fulfills the unique needs of LGBTQI+ individuals. Despite advancements in acknowledging and catering to these needs, significant work remains to eradicate health disparities within the LGBTQI+ community. Nao Medical is at the forefront of this endeavor, actively contributing to enhancing LGBTQI+ health through comprehensive services and supportive care tailored to this community’s diverse requirements.

LGBTQI+ Health Disparities

Health disparities within the LGBTQI+ community are a significant concern in public health, marked by unequal healthcare access, increased incidence of certain medical conditions, and generally poorer health outcomes compared to the broader population. The root causes of these disparities are multifaceted, involving societal discrimination, stigma, and a lack of healthcare services that adequately address the unique health needs of LGBTQI+ individuals.


Extensive research supports the existence of these disparities, indicating higher occurrences of mental health issues, HIV/AIDS, and certain types of cancer among LGBTQI+ populations compared to their heterosexual counterparts.


The Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report pointed out a critical gap: many healthcare providers lack the necessary understanding and skills to address the health needs of LGBTQI+ individuals, and there is a shortfall in focused research on this community.


Transgender men are twice as likely to report symptoms of anxiety compared to cisgender men, according to a 2023 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. (Reference: APA, 2023)

Black transgender women experience disproportionate barriers to obtaining PrEP due to stigma and lack of culturally competent providers, as highlighted in a 2022 report by the National LGBTQ Task Force.(Reference: National LGBTQ Task Force, 2022)


Intersex individuals require access to specialized healthcare professionals who understand their unique medical needs, including genital surgeries and hormonal considerations. (Reference: ISNA, 2023)


Latinx lesbian women face higher rates of cervical cancer compared to other populations due to limited access to preventive screenings and cultural barriers. (Reference: National Council for La Raza, 2021)


Older LGBTQI+ adults with disabilities often encounter additional challenges navigating healthcare systems due to ageism and discrimination. (Reference: SAGE USA, 2022)


Discrimination and stigma have significantly hindered LGBTQI+ individuals from seeking medical care. Concerns about receiving prejudiced treatment or encountering healthcare professionals unfamiliar with LGBTQI+ specific health needs contribute to this reluctance. Recognizing these challenges, the American Medical Association advocates for the development of inclusive health policies and the incorporation of LGBTQI+ health into medical education curricula.


The healthcare needs of LGBTQI+ people are diverse. For example, transgender individuals require access to gender-affirming treatments, and there’s a need for effective strategies to curb sexually transmitted diseases among men who have sex with men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the need for healthcare services to be culturally competent and responsive to the varied needs of the LGBTQI+ community to bridge these health disparities.



  1. 1. Dr. Ianta Zucker, a Black transgender psychiatrist and researcher.
  2. 2. Dr. Kenji Yoshino, a Japanese-American legal scholar focusing on LGBTQI+ rights.
  3. 3. Dr. Karen Rayne McCready, a Native American physician specializing in LGBTQI+ health.
  4. 4. The Trevor Project.
  5. 5. National Center for Transgender Equality.
  6. 6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  7. 7. Institute of Medicine. (2011). The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  8. 8. National LGBT Health Education Center. “LGBT Health Disparities.”
  9. 9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “LGBTQ Youth Health.”
  10. 10. American Medical Association. “Policies on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) Issues.”

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Understanding LGBTQI+ Identities and the Imperative for Inclusive Health Care

The term LGBTQI+ represents a spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities, capturing a community that includes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or those exploring their identity, Intersex, and additional identities like Asexual, Pansexual, Genderfluid, and Agender individuals, among others. 


This broad range highlights the diversity and complexity of human identity, underpinning the unique health challenges and requirements necessitated within healthcare settings. Inclusive health care is paramount, ensuring that all patients are welcomed and their health needs met with respect and sensitivity, irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Such an approach is vital in diminishing health disparities and enhancing health outcomes universally (Lambda Legal, 2010; The Fenway Institute, 2016).

The Evolution of LGBTQI+ Health Disparities

Historically, the LGBTQI+ community has navigated substantial barriers in accessing healthcare, confronting discrimination, a lack of provider awareness and empathy, and at times, outright denial of care. These challenges have cultivated a profound mistrust towards the healthcare system, exacerbating health disparities. Specific instances, such as the criminalization of homosexual acts under sodomy laws and societal discrimination impacting housing and employment, underscore the systemic obstacles encountered. 


Addressing these disparities necessitates a multifaceted strategy: educating healthcare providers about LGBTQI+ health intricacies, implementing inclusive health policies, and integrating LGBTQI+ health needs into broader public health initiatives. The objective is to dismantle historical barriers and cultivate a healthcare environment that affords dignity and equitable care to all individuals.



Contemporary challenges persist, including microaggressions in healthcare environments, insurance limitations on gender-affirming care, and the scarcity of culturally competent providers. Recognition of these ongoing hurdles is crucial in advocating for and implementing meaningful change.

Recent Developments and Continuing Efforts

While acknowledging the historical context of distrust, it is essential to recognize the strides made in improving healthcare access and quality for the LGBTQI+ community. The establishment of LGBTQI+-affirming medical organizations and legal progress has significantly contributed to more inclusive healthcare environments. Organizations such as the National Center for Transgender Equality, Human Rights Campaign, and initiatives like The Trevor Project offer contemporary insights and resources supporting the health and well-being of the LGBTQI+ community.


Incorporating recent literature and testimonials from organizations like the National LGBTQ Task Force can provide a richer, more nuanced understanding of the current healthcare landscape for LGBTQI+ individuals. These resources highlight not only the challenges but also the progress and the continued efforts needed to ensure inclusive, equitable healthcare for everyone.



  1. 1. Lambda Legal. (2010). When health care isn’t caring: Lambda Legal’s survey on discrimination against LGBT people and people living with HIV. Lambda Legal.
  2. 2. The Fenway Institute. (2016). Understanding the health needs of LGBT people. The Fenway Institute.
  3. 3. National Center for Transgender Equality. (n.d.).
  4. 4. Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.).
  5. 5. The Trevor Project. (2021). Research Brief on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health.
  6. 6. Institute of Medicine. (2011). The health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: Building a foundation for better understanding. National Academies Press.

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Understanding Key Health Issues for LGBTQI+ Individuals

The health landscape for individuals within the LGBTQI+ community encompasses a wide array of challenges that reflect the diversity and complexity of their experiences. This broad spectrum necessitates a healthcare approach that is both thoughtful and inclusive, catering to mental, sexual, and physical well-being.


Mental Health Considerations: The LGBTQI+ population encounters a significantly higher incidence of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and an increased risk of suicide, compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. This heightened vulnerability is often attributed to minority stress, discrimination, and negative societal perceptions. Notably, specific groups within the community, such as bisexual youth and transgender people of color, face even greater risks. Recent studies suggest the need for an updated analysis to better differentiate between specific diagnoses, ensuring targeted support and interventions (Meyer, 2003; The Trevor Project, 2021). At Nao Medical, Mental Health is screened and treated routinely.


Sexual Health Risks: LGBTQI+ individuals, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women, experience higher rates of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Factors contributing to these elevated rates include limited access to preventive measures like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and stigma that affects willingness to undergo testing. Specifying the prevalence of other STDs such as syphilis and chlamydia can provide a clearer picture of sexual health needs within this community (CDC, 2021). Nao Medical is listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Prevention Information Network (CDC NPIN) and focuses on comprehensive sexual health education and promotion of regular STD testing to prevent illnesses in LGBTQI+ individuals.


Gender-Affirming Care: Nao Medical is a LGBTQI+-affirming medical organization providing access to gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary individuals, encompassing coordination of a range of medical interventions from pre-operative clearances for surgeries (such as chest masculinization and bottom surgery) to coordination of hormone treatments and psychological support. These services play a pivotal role in aligning one’s physical appearance with their gender identity. Since, not every transgender or non-binary person seeks medical intervention, at nao Medical, we recognize and respect individual choices regarding gender-affirming care (Coleman et al., 2012; National Center for Transgender Equality).


Substance Use and Addiction: The LGBTQI+ community exhibits higher rates of substance use and addiction, often as coping mechanisms for stress, rejection, and societal discrimination. Specific substances, including methamphetamine, show particularly high usage rates among transgender women of color, underscoring the need for intersectional support strategies. Current trends in substance use within the LGBTQI+ community call for updated data and targeted interventions (SAMHSA, 2021). Nao Medical is a SAMHSA listed site and provides outpatient de-addiction services for substance use such as opiates.


Expanding the Discussion: At Nao Medical, we can help with other health needs such as reproductive health, considerations for aging LGBTQI+ individuals, and family planning options.


Inclusive Language and Resources: At Nao Medical, we utilize inclusive language (e.g., “people who identify as transgender” rather than “transgendered individuals”) and offer up-to-date resources and support options to  improve the healthcare experience for LGBTQI+ individuals. 

Nao Medical is recognized as a SAMHSA and OASAS site, demonstrating its commitment to addressing the substance use and mental health needs within the LGBTQI+ community with knowledgeable and supportive care



  1. 1. Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. American Journal of Public Health.
  2. 2. The Trevor Project. (2021). National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health.
  3. 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men.
  4. 4. Coleman, E., et al. (2012). Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender-Nonconforming People, Version 7. International Journal of Transgenderism.
  5. 5. National Center for Transgender Equality.
  6. 6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2021). LGBTQ+ and Substance Use.

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Social Determinants of Health and Their Impact on LGBTQI+ Individuals

Discrimination and Stigma: These act as barriers to accessing healthcare and can lead to negative health outcomes by contributing to psychological stress and unhealthy coping mechanisms.


Socioeconomic Factors: Economic inequalities affect the ability of LGBTQI+ individuals to access quality healthcare, nutritious food, and stable housing, all of which are crucial for good health.


Access to Culturally Competent Health Care: The lack of healthcare providers trained in the unique needs of LGBTQI+ patients can result in suboptimal care and reluctance to seek help for health issues.

Advances in LGBTQI+ Health Care

Significant progress has been made in recent years to address the health disparities faced by LGBTQI+ individuals. This includes increased recognition of the importance of LGBTQI+ health in public health research and policy, the development of guidelines for inclusive care, and the establishment of specialized health services catering to LGBTQI+ health needs.

Recent Progress in Care for Transgender and Non-Binary People

Key Advances in Gender-Affirming Healthcare In recent years, healthcare for transgender and non-binary individuals, known as gender-affirming care, has helped people transition in a way that matches their gender identity, improving their quality of life and allowing them to live more authentically. Here are the main areas of progress.


Improvements in Surgery: Surgery is a big part of gender-affirming care for many gender-affirming individuals who aim to change physical features, like facial structure, chest, or genitals, to better match their gender identity (Monstrey et al., 2018; WPATH Standards of Care) and it has become better and safer over time.


Better Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy, a critical component of gender-affirming care with treatments tailored to each person’s specific needs, health, and goals has made hormone therapy more effective and safer (Hembree et al., 2017).


Mental Health Support: Taking care of mental health is essential during the transition process. Healthcare now includes better access to mental health services like counseling and support groups, helping individuals deal with challenges related to gender dysphoria and transition (Coleman et al., 2012)

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How Nao Medical Supports LGBTQI+ Health

Nao Medical is actively involved in supporting the health of LGBTQI+ individuals, especially those seeking gender-affirming care. Here’s how Nao Medical is making a difference.


Referrals for Surgery and Post-Care: Nao Medical helps patients coordinate their needs and provides care after surgery, ensuring a smooth recovery.


Personalized Hormone Therapy: Nao Medical coordinates the latest approaches to hormone therapy with specialists


Mental Health Services: Nao Medical offers integrated mental health support for its patients, covering counseling and other services to support individuals through their transition.

Nao Medical’s commitment to inclusive, respectful care highlights its role in improving health equity and quality of life for transgender and non-binary people through ongoing innovation and comprehensive services.



  1. 1. Monstrey, S., et al. (2018). Surgical Techniques in Transgender Patients. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
  2. 2. Hembree, W. C., et al. (2017). Endocrine Treatment of Gender-Dysphoric/Gender-Incongruent Persons: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
  3. 3. Coleman, E., et al. (2012). Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender-Nonconforming People, Version 7. International Journal of Transgenderism.
  4. 4. World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender-Nonconforming People.

Sexual Health At Nao Medical

Nao Medical is proud to be listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Prevention Information Network (CDC NPIN), a testament to our dedication to comprehensive and inclusive health services, with a focus on STD testing, prevention, and care.


Extensive Testing, Treatment and Support: We offer a full spectrum of testing options, including:


Testing Services: Our comprehensive testing services are designed to address a wide range of health concerns, Including. 

  • Screening for Hepatitis B and C to enable early treatment and better health outcomes.
  • TB Testing to facilitate timely intervention and curb its spread.
  • Essential STD Testing for Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes, and Chlamydia, guiding treatment plans and preventing transmission.
  • Both Rapid and Conventional HIV Testing to support prompt diagnosis and care.


Treatment Services: Our treatment services focus on providing care and support for individuals diagnosed with STDs or requiring preventive measures, Including.

  • Family Planning services and counseling support individuals and couples in making informed health decisions.
  • Comprehensive treatment options for STD/STI to address and manage these conditions effectively.
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as a preventive measure for those at high risk of HIV infection.
  • Specialized HIV/AIDS Medical Treatment to manage and treat this condition.
  • Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Adult Hepatitis B to prevent these infections.
  • Education and Counseling on Medication Adherence to ensure patients can effectively follow their treatment regimens.
  • These services underscore our commitment to providing educational resources and counseling on TB, STD/STIs, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis, and empowering individuals with knowledge and tools for a better health.


Inclusive and Culturally Competent Care: Nao Medical is founded on the principles of inclusivity and cultural competency, tailoring services to meet the needs of diverse populations including LGBTQ individuals, Hispanics/Latinos, low-income persons, and the general public. From PrEP and family planning to STD/STI treatment and HIV/AIDS medical treatment, we cover a wide healthcare spectrum, ensuring every individual’s needs are met.


Accessibility and Openness: With services available in both English and Spanish, we strive to be a clinic where everyone can access the care they need. Our recognition by the CDC NPIN reinforces our role as a trusted, inclusive health resource dedicated to the community’s well-being.


Join Us on Your Health Journey: Embark on a path to better health with Nao Medical. Our expert care and comprehensive services are here to support you, creating a welcoming environment for all. Reach out today and take a proactive step towards a healthier future

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