Taking Care of Your Health Across the Decades: A Guide for the LGBTQIA+ Community

Explore lifelong health in our LGBTQIA+ guide for thriving at every age, with FOLX's trusted, inclusive care.

May 6, 2024
Listen to article

Quick links:

As we age, each decade brings its own changes, challenges, and opportunities, especially when it comes to our health. Understanding and addressing the unique health needs at every stage of life is crucial for maintaining our health and well-being. For many of us in the LGBTQIA+ community, we’ve neglected regular checkups or don’t have a relationship with a provider we can trust. This can impact our mental and physical health.

At FOLX, we recognize the diversity within the LGBTQIA+ community and the importance of personalized, inclusive health care that respects and addresses your individual needs and experiences. Not everyone will go through the same changes and phases at the same time. We know not every woman goes through menopause, not every sexually active person is concerned about pregnancy prevention, and not every trans person follows the same transition path, as examples.

That being said, there are some basics you can keep in mind throughout the decades to ensure you feel your best. Your clinician is always the best person to talk to when you have questions, and they can walk you through this or any other recommendations unique to you.

Health in Your 20s

Your 20s are a time of exploration, growth, and laying the foundations for a healthy future. It might be the time when you’re choosing your own doctors for the first time, or figuring out how to get and navigate health insurance. Here are some key health aspects and screenings to consider:

  • Yearly wellness checkups with a clinician you trust
  • Regular mental health assessments
  • Discussions about substance use and safer sex practices
  • Routine STI screenings and HIV testing if you’re sexually active with others
  • Pap smears and HPV testing, according to guidelines
  • Vaccinations, including the HPV vaccine
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol checks
  • Fertility checks or preservation, if it’s of interest

Your health in your 20s is not just about health screenings either. It’s about developing safe and healthy adult relationships (friendships and/or romantic), learning to feed yourself nutritious food, creating movement habits that make you feel good in your body, and so much more.

Your 20s are often also about finding out more about yourself and what makes you tick, discovering what kind of work meets your needs and your personal and financial goals, and building a community of people who care for each other.

At FOLX, you can join a community of LGBTQIA+ people who support each other on our health journeys and connect with a clinician you can partner with on your healthcare needs, both now and in the long term. 

Health in Your 30s

As you move into your 30s, ideally you’re building on the good health practices established in your 20s. But if you’re just starting to think about taking better care of your health, or you’re coping with new aches and pains, it’s never too late to get more support! Your 30s are a great decade to make sure you’re setting up strong relationships with supportive clinicians and peers.

Some health needs you may want to think about include:

  • Screenings for diabetes, especially if you have risk factors
  • Testicular or breast self-exams, if relevant
  • Regular dental and eye exams
  • Fertility or family building resources, if desired
  • Nutritious eating
  • Regular movement / exercise
  • Continued regular wellness checkups with a trusted clinician
  • Continued STI and HIV screenings, if you’re sexually active with a partner(s)
  • Continued mental health checkups

For some of us, our 30s are the decade we embark on some longer-term relationships as well—whether that be with a partner(s) or by bringing a child into our family. Taking care of our physical and mental health is key to being able to be in healthy relationships.

By our 30s, most of us have navigated some big health stuff too - whether that is a bout of severe depression, IBS or gastrointestinal issues that have impacted our quality of life, autoimmune disease, or an unexpected injury. Hopefully, you’ve gotten great care, but if you haven’t, it’s a good time to get the medical support you feel gets you and can help you care for whatever comes up.

At FOLX we don’t just have our own network of inclusive clinicians, we have a nationwide referral network of vetted providers. Whatever in-person or specialty care you need, from a fertility clinic to a dermatologist, we can help you find care in-network and in your area, from a provider you can trust.

Health in Your 40s

Welcome to the decade of your midlife crisis! Just kidding, but it may be a decade for your midlife awakening. Your 40s can be a powerful decade of being you or they can be a time when you’re reevaluating a lot. Wherever you are at, paying attention to your holistic health is key. Your 40s are a critical time to make sure you’re getting those regular health screenings. Keep up with your health with these key screenings and health checks:

  • Cardiovascular health assessments
  • Cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies
  • Bone density screenings, if at risk
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel to check your overall health
  • Screenings for thyroid disorders
  • Eye exams to monitor changes in vision
  • Support around menopause symptoms, if relevant
  • Continued regular wellness checkups with a trusted clinician
  • Continued STI and HIV screenings, if you’re sexually active with a partner(s)
  • Continued mental health checkups

Depending on how your life has changed since your 20s and 30s you might be looking for new habits or making some lifestyle changes. Maybe you used to spend Saturday nights on the dance floor and now you’re looking for a new cardio routine. Maybe you feel like the long brunches or late nights don’t suit your current lifestyle or health goals best. Or maybe you’re coming into queer nightlife for the first time and never having had more fun sweating it out. No matter what, it’s a good time to take a look at what feels good and what can shift.

If you’ve had identity or lifestyle shifts, you might be looking for some new community to go along with it. In the FOLX Community Platform we have people of all ages, across the country, connecting and sharing experiences. We’re here to talk about work challenges, mental health, sobriety, parenting challenges, and more. We can also connect you to local LGBTQ centers and groups, if you’re looking for something in your region.

Health in Your 50s

We see many patients in their 50s and beyond here at FOLX! You might have a clear handle on your health risks, things you’re keeping an eye on, and regular screenings at this point. Or you may have been avoiding all but the most urgent care, especially if, like us, you’ve had some less-than-ideal interactions with providers in the past. It’s a good time to evaluate how you’re feeling about yourself and your healthcare team. Yes, at this phase of life you’re more likely to have seen more than just a primary care provider, and at least a specialist or two for something! In your 50s, prioritize screenings and awareness for age-related health conditions:

  • Colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer
  • Mammograms and/or prostate exams as recommended
  • Bone density tests to screen for osteoporosis
  • Blood sugar tests for diabetes
  • Blood pressure monitoring for hypertension
  • Screenings for age-related vision and hearing loss
  • Continued regular wellness checkups with a trusted clinician
  • Continued STI and HIV screenings, if you’re sexually active with a partner(s)
  • Continued mental health checkups

It’s important that you understand what screenings are best for you given your history and risks, and a trusted provider can help you keep on top of everything. In addition to that great primary care provider, you’ll want to ensure any specialists you’re seeing are affirming and supportive of your identity and whole self.

If you’re looking for extra support around aging, changing relationships or work, or anything else, considering therapy can be a great choice. Here at FOLX we offer talk therapy via video sessions in select states (with more being added all the time). If we can’t connect you to a FOLX therapist, we can recommend someone in our referral network who could be a good fit.

Keep up the healthy eating and joyful movement during this time of life. Your habits and activities may have changed, but it might be a fun time to join a recreational sport, take up powerlifting, or put on those glitter shorts and diva dance while you’re cleaning the house. Try to find activities and foods that feel nourishing in all the ways, and you’ll be more likely to keep it up.

Health in Your 60s and Beyond

People come to FOLX in their 60s and 70s (and even 80s) for all sorts of reasons! If you’re thinking of transitioning in your later years, you are absolutely not alone, and a great clinician (like ours at FOLX) can help you on the path. If you’re just looking for a trusted primary care provider, or for a care navigation team that can help you find the specialists you need, we’re here for that too. In your 60s and beyond, focusing on these areas can help maintain your health and quality of life:

  • Screenings for cancers, including colorectal, breast, and prostate
  • Vaccinations for flu, shingles, and pneumonia
  • Regular screenings for cognitive health
  • Assessments for arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions
  • Continued monitoring for cardiovascular health
  • Continued regular wellness checkups with a trusted clinician
  • Continued STI and HIV screenings, if you’re sexually active with a partner(s)
  • Continued mental health checkups

If you’re in your 60s, 70s, or 80s, you might find the fact that FOLX even exists kind of stunning. So many of us came up at a time when we felt we had to hide our identities in many situations, perhaps even from our doctors. We might have accessed hormones outside of healthcare systems or found our communities in hidden spaces. You might remember a time when so many of our community members were dying from HIV and unable to get care. You may remember how we got by by caring for each other.

Here at FOLX our goal is to build on that legacy of community care with the most dedicated, LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians we could find. We’ve built a care team and a Community Platform around the belief that we all deserve expert and affirming care from providers we can trust. At any age, you belong here!

In summary

At FOLX, we understand that your health is not just a diagnosis or a doctor’s visit; it's a vital part of your journey and self. We're here to support you at every stage of life, offering healthcare that is as diverse and dynamic as the LGBTQIA+ community we serve. Remember, taking care of your health is an act of self-love and community care. We encourage you to prioritize your well-being, seek personalized care, and embrace each decade with confidence and resilience. Your life is a story worth celebrating, and we're honored to be a part of it.


FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include virtual primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, preventive care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, or nonbinary, you can find LGBTQIA+-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. FOLX Health is health care that's queer all year. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!

Related articles

View all posts