A research specialist is hoping to improve knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues amongst health providers in a recently published handbook.

Michael Shankle a sexual orientation and health expert at the Pennsylvania Prevention Project edited The Handbook of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Public Health: A Practitioner’s Guide to Service to prepare medical professionals for when they deal with the gay community.

Mr Shankle said: “When most health care practitioners think about lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender health, they immediately conjure up images of HIV and AIDS. However, the public health landscape for sexual minorities is much larger and significantly more complicated than just sexually transmitted diseases. That is why there is a great need for this handbook.”

The book aims to end stereotypes of looking at diseases based on sexual orientation and encourages looking at patients individually according to their own lives and behaviour.

He added, “For a health care practitioner who is not a researcher, this type of information is extremely difficult to track down.

“That is why we assembled the best and brightest people in public health to help us pull together the handbook from the available research.”

The publisher, Haworth Press Inc called the handbook “a one-of-a-kind resource for LGBT public health issues”

Meanwhile a report from the University of Central Lancashire claims that men fear health check ups because of gay connotations of taking off their clothes in front of male GPs.