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CenterLink Partners to End the HIV Epidemic

Janelle

 

 

 

 

Janelle Taveras PhD, MPH, Project Administrator LGBT HealthLink at CenterLink

CenterLink’s LGBT HealthLink continues to expand its’ capacity to improve LGBTQ health by focusing on ending the HIV epidemic and reducing HIV-related disparities that affect our diverse communities. HIV is a consequence of intersectionality of multilayered factors which include race/ethnicity, immigration, sexual orientation, gender identity, and others. Knowledge of HIV status and the health of people with HIV vary widely across the US, with Southern states generally behind other regions in some key indicators across the HIV care continuum.  As such, the highest rates of HIV diagnosis in the US are found in its’ Southern region, particularly among Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana (24.9, 22.9 and 22.9 diagnoses per 100,000 people). By the end of 2015, Southern states accounted for approximately 46% of all people with HIV, including an estimated 86% (960,351) of people aware of their infection by the end of 2015.  By 2017, most of these new diagnoses (74%) in the southern US region were people of color. Blacks/African Americans followed by Hispanics/Latinx account for the highest proportion of both new HIV diagnoses and people living with HIV. Blacks/African Americans and Hispanic/Latinx communities accounted for 43% and 16%, respectively, of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas (N= 38,739). Members of sexual or gender minority groups, in addition to racial/ethnic minority groups, result in multilayered factors of HIV susceptibility. Gay and bisexual men account for the largest portion, 67% of new HIV diagnosis in the US and an estimated prevalence of HIV among transgender individuals ranging from 7% to 44%, with increasing estimates among racial/ethnic minorities.

Under the leadership of Dr. Regina Washington, Director of LGBT HealthLink and Development Officer, CenterLink, along with three (3) additional core partners, My Brother’s Keeper, Inc (MBK), University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Express Personal Health (EPH) Black AIDS Institute (BAI), are the co-recipients of new CDC funding for HIV capacity-building. This funding is aimed at the provision of technical assistance that supports clinical HIV testing and prevention for persons with HIV in the US southern region. Dr. Washington states, “To lead this effort in addressing the HIV epidemic for our national network, CenterLink has on-boarded HIV expert, Dr. Janelle Taveras, as the LGBT HealthLink Project Administrator.” Her more than 13 years of experience in the field of HIV include program planning and implementation, project coordinating, research and evaluation work for several CDC funded HIV/AIDS programs and projects within the Florida Department of Health. She has also been heavily involved in both the local and state Integrated Planning process since 2013 (Broward County and Florida, respectively). Through her work, Janelle has practiced knowledge of HIV epidemiology and surveillance, research and program development and coordination, biomedical interventions, HIV patient care systems, quality improvement, and multifaceted monitoring and evaluation methods. In addition, Janelle has participated in several studies at the AIDS Prevention Program at Florida International University designed to reduce HIV risk behaviors among vulnerable populations of adolescents, severely mentally ill adults, and recovering drug abusers. She has been a guest speaker on the topics of Behavioral Epidemiology, Public Health Surveillance, HIV and Millennials, and Health Equity. Janelle is a double graduate from Florida International University with both a Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology, where her dissertation work was focused on HIV risk behaviors, previous HIV testing, and positivity among Hispanic women tested for HIV in Florida.

As a coalition of over 220 LGBTQ community centers across the United States, CenterLink is well positioned to respond to the HIV epidemic by supporting these centers and addressing the challenges faced by the communities they serve. CenterLink’s mission is to develop strong, sustainable LGBTQ community centers and build a thriving center network that creates healthy, vibrant communities. Providing technical assistance and capacity building around HIV will require the consideration of comprehensive needs of the LGBTQ community. In the provision of holistic services to communities that are at significant risk of acquiring HIV, three issues will be emphasized: 1.) Increased attention and funding to these priority populations, 2.) meaningfully engaging these communities to be a part of the decision-making process, and 3.) utilizing appropriate evaluation indicators to measure progress. The work of this project will support the HIV prevention efforts in serving HIV-negative persons at greatest risk for HIV infection which includes blacks/African Americans; Hispanics/Latinos; all races/ethnicities of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM); people who inject drugs (PWID); transgender persons and other vulnerable populations. CenterLink’s role in this project is imperative in reaching LGBTQ communities that may be at significant risk of acquiring HIV and ensuring equity in HIV prevention services for these respective populations.

For more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/slidesets/cdc-hiv-prevention-and-care-outcomes.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/racialethnic/africanamericans/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/reports/hiv-surveillance.html

https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/factsheets/challenges-508.pdf

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/nhas

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/policies_NHPC_Booklet.pdf

http://sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.navDOI:10.1177/1540415317696196journals.sagepub.com/home/hci

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192936

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/group/msm/cdc-hiv-msm.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/group/gender/transgender/cdc-hiv-transgender-factsheet.pdf

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New Findings on Pan and Trans Smoking – This Week in #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

RainbowMentalHealthHelp End Mental Health Stigma

HRC explored three ways that anyone can help end the stigma around mental health that often prevents LGBTQ people from getting treated. They suggest providing support for LGBTQ folks who experience bias or bullying, supporting policies that end discrimination, and sharing your story if you have been personally affected.

Trust Deficit in Queer Health

Researchers found that LGB individuals were more likely than their heterosexual peers to seek information about health-related topics, but less likely to do so first with a doctor, and were also less likely to trust health-related information from family or friends. Unfortunately, LGB people were also 2.3 times as likely to be worried about getting cancer, underscoring the need for more trusted sources of information in the community.

New Findings on Pan, Trans Smoking

A new study found that pansexual youth have higher rates of smoking than their gay and lesbian peers, and that pansexual boys in particular reported a high smoking prevalence of 21.6%. Transgender boys also faced disparities, including starting smoking at a younger age than others.

Experiencing Care as a Nonbinary Patient

Rewire published an essay exploring a nonbinary person’s experience getting a Pap smear. The author examines how things like being misgendered by staff and not being able to select one’s gender identity on intake forms impacted their experience. The article also offers recommendations for how providers can improve nonbinary-inclusive care.

HIV Self-test Kits Explored

A study examined the impact of HIV self-test kits – which have been available for years, but are still unpopular among public health programs – in the lives of men who have sex with men. It found that in the months when men used the self-test kit versus going to a clinic to be tested, they reported lower levels of social support, but also seemed to be engaging in more healthy activities. Researchers say this may mean self-test kits can help empower sexual minority men.

Celebrating LGBT Athletes Outsports

Outsports launched a series of articles on LGBTQ athletes, with a new profile out every day in June in celebration of Pride. First in the series: Dr. Tom Waddell, a track athlete who (after competing in the Olympics and getting injured) went on to form the Gay Games in San Francisco in 1982. Today, the Gay Games still support LGBTQ athletes around the world.

Queer Cancer Survivors Face Disparities

Researchers found that female sexual minority cancer survivors had more deficits in access to care than did their heterosexual female counterparts. Among those who faced such problems accessing care, sexual minority women had worse overall physical and mental quality of life. Additionally, sexual minority men who were cancer survivors were more likely to have poor mental quality of life than their heterosexual peers. Read more about cancer survivorship from LGBT HealthLink here.

 What We Know about Transgender Medicare Beneficiaries

A new study found that the number of transgender Medicare beneficiaries, as identified through insurance claims codes, increased from 2,088 individuals in 2010 to 10,242 individuals in 2016, a 390% increase. The biggest spikes were in 2015 and 2016, which coincided with a change in diagnostic codes that allowed more transgender beneficiaries to be identified.

NHTD CDCPreparing for HIV Testing Day

The CDC announced plans to recognize June 27th as National HIV Testing Day, which it says is an important part in ending the HIV epidemic. The CDC has guidelines for organizations that want to plan an event to participate in the day, and also has a searchable map where prospective participants can find a related event near them.

 

Please join LGBT HealthLink for a very important conversation: Addressing HIV in People of Color Communities: Tips and Tots for LGBTQ Community Centers. Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 12 noon – 1pm ET. Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3556076089623218179

Cyberbullying and Loss of Sleep, Depression

Researchers found that teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely than others to experience troubles sleeping, which in turn is associated with increased levels of depression. The results should be of concern to LGBTQ health advocates, given that other research has found higher levels of cyberbullying victimization among sexual and gender minority youth.

 World Health Organization Changes Trans Guidelines

Human Rights Watch reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) has now removed “gender identity disorder” as a mental illness from its guidelines, which has led (intentionally or not) to stigma and discrimination against the transgender population. Instead, “gender congruence” will now be listed underneath the section of the guidelines on sexual health.

How a Legal Defense Can Impact Victimization

Movement Advancement Project published a new map showing the status of laws relating to the “gay/trans panic defense,” which is a legal claim that an attack on an LGBTQ person was justified because the attacker panicked out of homophobic and/or transphobia. LGBTQ advocates say the allowance of such a defense exacerbates the level of hate crimes facing the community.

 

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#LGBTWellness News – How Happy Are We?

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

RainbowSmilyFaceStudy Assesses Queer Happiness

UNAIDS and the LGBT Foundation announced a new international study on the happiness, quality of life, and sexual practices of LGBT people. They hope that the first-of-its-kind survey will help advocates for LGBT health and equality. The survey is now live for participants to take online.

Low Knowledge on Anal Cancer Risk

Researchers found low levels of awareness of anal cancer and HPV risk among gay and bisexual men, including those living with HIV, despite higher risk in these populations. Fifty-two (52%) of queer men living with HIV and 68% of HIV-negative queer men thought (falsely) they had the same or lower risk than the general population, and few had discussed risks with their doctor.

Time to Talk about Trans Parenthood

NBC News reported on the challenges that transgender people face in getting accurate information about their fertility options. The article profiles a transgender couple in which a man was told he would have to go off hormones for at least 18 months and may never be able to get pregnant – but who was able to do so after 3 months. Transgender health in general, including with respect to fertility, is seldom given attention in medical education.

Cervical Cancer Guidelines Missed

A new study found that sexual minority women had less than half the odds (0.457) of being current with cervical cancer screenings, which facilitates early detection and thus can save lives. Interestingly, the study found that how sexual minority women were identified, for the purposes of collecting the data, played an important role in observing this disparity.

Turning IT into Better Data and Health AOU Pride Poster

NIH announced new research on how to leverage health information technology (IT) to address health disparities, including those faced by sexual and gender minorities. Improving data on our community’s health has been a focus of LGBT HealthLink’s partnership with the national All of Us campaign.

Recognizing Older Adults Month

Movement Advancement Project marked Older Adults Month by sharing research and resources for LGBT older adults. These include a report outlining the needs of the 1.1 million LGBT people aged 65-plus in the U.S. today, and a special analysis of the growing population of bisexual older adults. Yahoo also reported on National LGBT Elders Day.

 

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Higher Risks at School for Trans Teens – #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

AllGenderDiscrimination Puts Trans Youth at Risk

NBC News reported on findings that transgender and gender-nonbinary youth were more likely to experience sexual harassment and assault if their school did not let them use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding with their gender identity. Thirty-five percent (35%) of students experiencing this discrimination at school had been sexually assaulted or harassed compared to 26% of those who had been permitted access to facilities.

Marriage Equality and Employment

A new study found that as same-sex marriage was implemented across the U.S., same-sex couples were increasingly likely to have both partners employed, and having full-time employment. In total, the author estimates that 160,000 people may have gained employment through cultural and opportunity changes that came with marriage equality.

State Updates Health Education CA BOE

Ed Source reported that the California State Board of Education has approved new health education guidance for teachers that is more LGBTQ-inclusive and scientifically-based. California could now be a leader on inclusive health curricula, although the sexual health components did prove controversial among those who oppose comprehensive education.

HPV and Queer Men

NewNowNext called on queer men to pay more attention to HPV, which is more prevalent among queer men than their heterosexual peers and helps explain why men who have sex with men are at much higher risk for anal cancer than are other men. Vaccination efforts have traditionally targeted girls and young women, but both those gender and age limitations are starting to change as the benefits of the vaccine for adults of all genders are better understood.

Unpacking Sexual Fluidity

ScienceAlert reported on a new study which found high levels of sexual orientation fluidity in adults (especially women) through their twenties. The author suggests that simplistic labels like “gay,” “bisexual,” and “straight” do not truly capture the experience of the large percentage of the population who experiment or question their orientation before settling more permanently.

Dermatology and Trans Health

Healio reported on a new viewpoint piece in JAMA Dermatology that advised dermatologists on how they can contribute to gender-affirming care, specifically through hair reduction services. The authors note that such services are hard to access for many transgender people due to limited coverage by insurance, a lack of transgender healthcare protections, and limited research.

“Treatment as Prevention” Confirmed Successful

Reuters reported on a landmark study of 1,000 same sex, HIV-serodifferent, male couples. Findings demonstrated that persons living with HIV, who followed an HIV treatment regimen, did not transmit the virus to their partners, even without using condoms. The report was heralded by organizations such as UNAIDS, which said the results should decrease stigma and encourage early testing and treatment.

AAFPPhysicians Call for Trans Education, Inclusion

The American Academy of Family Physicians called for more inclusion of LGBT health issues in medical education and residencies. They said that gender-affirming care services, in particular, “are in the scope of family physicians without specialist consult based on informed consent and patient-centered care models.” Supporters highlighted that transgender people should be able to receive all of their standard care “under one roof” and not have to search for a second doctor for their trans-related care needs.

New Findings on Bisexual Youth

A new study found complex disparities related to bisexual youth, when broken down by race and ethnicity. For example, black bisexual youth were actually less at risk for several issues relating to mental health, substance use, and bullying than white bisexual youth. The results suggest the need for varied interventions to support the diversity of the bisexual community.

Transgender Folks and Pap Tests

Researchers examined the motivations and barriers of transgender and genderqueer people, assigned female at birth,  in seeking Pap tests, which screen for cervical cancer. The main facilitating factor was their relationship with a provider, while major barriers included the availability of competent care, distress they experienced in seeking sexual health services, and characteristics of the health care setting.

MentalHealthAM

Marking Mental Health Awareness Month

HRC observed Mental Health Awareness Month, which takes place in May. The goal is to reduce stigma byencouraging more discussions about mental health, especially with LGBTQ youth. HRC noted that while the LGBT community in general is more impacted by mental health issues, subpopulations such as bisexual youth, gender-nonconforming folks, and LGBT people of color are at particularly high risk.

Another New Tobacco Product Approved

CNBC reported that the FDA approved iQOS – a heated tobacco product – for sale in the U.S. Philip Morris International also requested that the FDA deem the product “safer than cigarettes,” a decision the agency has yet to make. LGBT adults and youth are already disproportionately impacted by other tobacco products.

 

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More Data = Better Health Outcomes in This Week’s #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

Oncologists Report on LGBT Needs CaBPP

Oncology experts presented findings on the need to improve cancer care for LGBT patients. Among the themes: increasing data to improve both for systemic and individual patient outcomes and more resources for cancer survivors. LGBT HealthLink has resources on cancer survivorship and best practices for cancer care, and is partnering with All of Us to increase data.

Study Shines Light on Trans Health

A national study found that transgender folks were more likely than cisgender folks to use cigarettes (19.2% versus 16.3%) and be physically inactive (35% versus 25.6%), and less likely to have health insurance (79.9% versus 85.4%). NBC News covered the study, which its author says is evidence of the need for nondiscrimination protections and broader social acceptance.

Understanding Bi Mental Health

Psychology Today explored new research on bisexual individuals and its implications for mental health practice. For example, addressing internalized biphobia is particularly important, especially for those currently in a heterosexual relationship, while one major study did not show that having LGBT friends (a frequent suggestion of mental health providers) improved mental health.

RainbowTwitterWhat Tweets Say about HPV

Researchers studied social media posts relating to HPV among queer men, who are more at risk than heterosexual men but often not targeted for vaccination. While the messages were mostly positive, they did encounter some negative tweets, a lack of focus on prevention, and a generally low amount of outreach given the potential positive impact of the vaccine in queer communities.

HIV among Marginalized Populations

The CDC reported on an outbreak of HIV in King County, Washington, among women and heterosexual men who inject drugs – a group that is increasingly at risk for the virus, even as LGBT individuals remain disproportionately impacted. Researchers say the outbreak highlights the difficulty in treating marginalized populations, such as those who inject drugs and are experiencing homelessness.

FenwayLGBTHealth

Addressing Insurance for Trans+ Individuals

The Fenway Institute announced a new webinar entitled, “Insurance Considerations for Gender Diverse People.” It will cover the rapidly-developing landscape of insurance options (and potential pitfalls) for transgender and gender nonconforming patients, for whom quality and inclusive insurance is often critical for receiving gender-affirming care.

Weight Status and Risk for Queer Men

Researchers found that while gay and bisexual men had lower average body mass index (BMI) than did heterosexual men, their weight status was more strongly correlated with negative health outcomes like heart disease and diabetes. This means that gay and bisexual men who are overweight face heightened health risks compared to heterosexual men, which may have to do with factors like minority stress.

Supporting Testing for Transgender Individuals

The CDC marked the fourth annual National Transgender HIV Testing Day by releasing social media materials and infographics. They say that 14% of transgender women are living with HIV, however this number is disproportionately comprised of Transgender women of color with 26% being Latinx transgender women and 44% Black transgender women compared to only 7% white transgender women. They also include materials on the negative impact of internalized HIV stigma.

How Pharmacies Can Address Disparities

Chemist & Druggist published a guide on how pharmacy staff can help address LGBT disparities, using such practices as putting up inclusive signs, holding staff trainings on LGBT health, and making sure that customers are not misgendered, as that can contribute to stigma. The article also discusses progress being made in the UK on this issue.

Conversion Therapy Ban Survives SCOTUS Challenge

The Journal News reported that the Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to the New Jersey law banning so-called conversion therapy on minors. New Jersey was the first state to ban the practice, and as over a dozen states have followed suit, opponents have tried to strike the law as unconstitutional. LGBT health advocates say the practice amounts to child abuse.

Barriers to Fertility Treatment in Trans Youth TransFertility

A new study examined how transgender youth and young adults think about preserving their fertility options. It found that healthcare costs and experiences with gender dysphoria were often barriers to youth who might otherwise want to preserve their ability to pursue biological parenthood in the future. Only 33% of the youth in the study had undergone such treatment.

“Don’t Say Gay” Law Nixed

Care2 reported that Arizona has repealed a law that prevented LGBT health topics from being taught in public schools. LGBT advocates say that the law prevented effective education on topics like HIV and increased stigma facing LGBT students. Only four states actually require LGBT-inclusive health education, with two states also requiring inclusive history curricula.

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Our Rural Family – #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

MAPRuralWe’re Here, We’re Queer – in Rural America

Movement Advancement Project published a report and recommendations on the three million-plus LGBT people who call rural America home. Their recommendations for health providers include collecting data on LGBT status and advocating that the public health system do the same, since data is limited on LGBT folks outside of major cities. They also note that since not everyone can reach an LGBT-specific service, al services must strive to be more inclusive.

New Attempt to Reduce Conversion Therapy

Rolling Stone reported on a bill just filed in Congress that would ban government funding under Medicaid for so-called “conversion therapy” for youth. The widely-discredited practice seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT people, and has been found to cause severe mental health problems. 30 million children nationwide are covered by Medicaid.

Internalizing Invisibility

USA Today published an opinion piece on the dangers of bisexual invisibility and the internalization thereof, which continues despite bisexual folks comprising 5.5% of women and 2% of men aged 18-44. For example, this invisibility may explain why bisexual folks are more likely to experience loneliness and be less likely to utilize LGBT safe spaces.

Better Health for Drug Users Remains Distant Goal

UNAIDS published a new report on improving the health of people who inject drugs, of whom more than half are living with Hepatitis C and one in eight with HIV. A 2016 global UN agreement called for more decriminalization of drug use and better access to services, but the vast majority of countries worldwide are falling short of these goals.

Latinx Health Program Tackles Intersectionalities LaQ

The Austin-American Statesman reported on a new initiative led by AIDS Services of Austin called “La Q.” This program is specifically for Latinx youth ages 18-29 and seeks to address issues of intersectional stigma and discrimination the community faces, such as how to navigate one’s gender identity while also dealing with immigration issues. Bien hecho, Austin!

Women in Health Profession Earn Less

A perspective published by the American Medical Association explored the staggering gender pay gaps in the healthcare profession, in which women physicians and surgeons earn only 71% of what their male counterparts earn nationwide. It’s bad news for LGBT people, both for queer and trans women in the profession and those being served by female professionals, whom one recent study found were much more trans-friendly than their male counterparts.

More Trans Youth Using Military Care

Researchers examined utilization of gender-affirming care among youth receiving military healthcare benefits because of a family member’s service. They found that the number increased from 135 youth in 2010 to 528 youth in 2017, by which time military insurance was covering such care. Interestingly, almost two-thirds (65.1%) of these youth were identified female at birth.

TrevorBiYouth

Trevor Project Reports on Bisexual Youth

Trevor Project published a report on bisexual youth, who they say comprise 7% of youth nationwide, compared to just 2% who are gay or lesbian and 4% who are questioning. In the past year, almost half (48%) seriously considered suicide and two-thirds (66%) felt sad and hopeless for at least two consecutive weeks, both higher rates than for gay, lesbian, or heterosexual youth.

Assumptions and Gender Gap in Trans Care

A study of healthcare providers in West Virginia found that more than three in four (76.45%) assumed that they did not have transgender patients, and four in ten (40%) said they would need more education to properly treat transgender patients. There was a big gap between providers who identified as male and female, with male doctors having much more negative opinions of transgender people.

Details on Plan to End HIV

Washington Blade published an exclusive interview with the director of the CDC, who said he is “totally confident” in achieving the recently-announced goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030, which he explains would mean having less than 1 new infection per 100,000 people. $291 million was proposed for the first year of the initiative, with unknown funding moving forward.

New Study on LGBTQ Mental Health

Bay Area Reporter detailed a new statewide survey in California exploring the mental health of LGBTQ adults statewide. It is part of a new project funded by a state mental health commission that was formed by a voter referendum in 2004. Given the size and diversity of California’s population, the results could be of use for addressing LGBTQ mental health nationwide.

MicroAgressMicroaggressions a Workplace Hazard

Forbes explored the dangers to health and well-being of workplace microaggressions: subtle comments that are often unintentional but that reflect a discriminatory bias. For example, misusing someone’s gender pronouns can be a microaggression (or an outright aggression) against a transgender person. Experts say these microaggressions increase stress and anxiety.

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#LGBTWellness News: Family Support Is As Important As It’s Ever Been

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

What We Need to Know about Family Acceptance LGBTHealth

Researchers reviewed the importance of family support for the development and health of LGBTQ youth. While research is very limited, the article focuses on a recent symposium that developed a list of priorities for what should be investigated in this field. Among these areas in which we need to learn more: the impact of different parenting practices on LGBTQ youth, what education parents need to help LGBTQ youth, and how to tailor family-based interventions.

Gaps in Provider Knowledge on Cancer

A study explored gaps in doctors’ knowledge on providing oncological care to LGBTQ patients. They note that while more healthcare records systems are beginning to record LGBTQ status – a positive first step towards reducing disparities – doctors often do not know what to do with that data. They site a recent survey showing 70.4% of respondent doctors wanted more knowledge on cancer care for LGBTQ patients.

Challenges in the South to Ending HIV

The New York Times examined challenges in the federal government’s new plan to end HIV infections by 2030. In places like Jackson, Mississippi, many people of color are skeptical of the public health system given historical abuses of the Black community. On top of that, antiLGBTQ bias in the region makes it hard to reach those most impacted by the virus.

Queer Women Less Likely to Know Health History

Researchers found that lesbian and bisexual women were less likely than their heterosexual peers to know their family’s health history with respect to breast cancer. Specifically, lesbian women were 1.56 times more likely than heterosexual women to not know their family health history, and bisexual women were an even greater 2.59 times more likely to not know. The authors say this must be addressed or else health disparities facing queer women will be exacerbated.

BiHealthFlagTips for Serving Bisexual Patients

HRC continued its series of posts for Bisexual Health Awareness Month with tips for doctors to improve their care for bisexual patients. Since bisexual patients are less likely to disclose their orientation than are gay or lesbian patients, showing openness – for example, having LGBTQ-inclusive signage and LGBTQ-inclusive intake forms – are even more important for bisexual patients.

Win for Foster Equality

The Detroit Free Press reported that Michigan adoption agencies will no longer be able to discriminate against same-sex parents, based on a lawsuit settlement overseen by the state’s Attorney General. The state had previously made news by permitting such discrimination by private agencies, thus making it harder for LGBTQ parents (and the 12,000 Michigan youth in foster care) to find placements.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The CDC released new resources in recognition of the 20th annual “Screen for Life” campaign to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include things like tobacco use, alcohol use, and obesity – factors in which some parts of the LGBT community face disparities. LGBT folks can learn how to reduce risk and get screened if between ages 50 and 75.

Differences Found in Vaccine Rates

A new study found some differences in vaccination rates between GLB adults and heterosexual adults. For example, bisexual women were more likely to have had an HPV vaccine than were heterosexual women; gay and bisexual men did not have a statistically significant higher rate of HPV vaccine than heterosexual men, despite higher risk. However, gay men did have higher coverage of HepA and HepB vaccines than did heterosexual men.

Examining Weight and Orientation Scale

NBC News reported on a study which found that lesbian and bisexual women in the United Kingdom were 14% more likely to be overweight or obese than were their heterosexual counterparts. The study looked at 93,000 people nationwide. The article says that smaller U.S. studies have found similar results, but experts caution about making assumptions that being clinically overweight necessary implies any given health problem.

CDC Reports on HIV Prevention Progress

The CDC released a new progress report on HIV prevention, which they say for the first time combines national and state data. While they say that progress has been made, the report also notes that large disparities remain for queer men and transgender people, people of color, and those in the South. They also noted troubling increases in recent years among Asians and Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Bi Health Month Continues!

March was Bisexual Health Awareness Month, and the conversation continues on Twitter with the hashtag #BiHealthMonth. Many organizations, like the Bi Resource Center and Movement Advancement Project, have worked together to share resources that are specific to bisexual health – a topic often overlooked when compared to gay and lesbian health. Check it out!

Need More Cancer Resources?

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Do you want to do more to reduce the risk of colorectal and other cancers in the LGBT community? LGBT HealthLink has lots of resources to help, including best and promising practices across the cancer care continuum, a detailed fact sheet on cancer and LGBT folks, and information on cancer survivorship for those with cancer and their loved ones. Members have access to even more, like the new “Trans Individuals and Cancer” brochure – and joining is free!

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March Is #BiHealthMonth – #LGBTWellness News

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

It’s Bi Health Awareness Month BHAM 2019 Square-01

HRC and the Bisexual Resource Centered recognized March as Bisexual Health Awareness Month and shared why this year’s theme is “representation.” They note that while more people  come out as bisexual or pansexual and increase visibility, biphobia remains a huge problem and is compounded for those who also experience discrimination like racism and ableism.

Focus on Queer Fertility

Researchers explored the fertility experiences of lesbian women after intrauterine insemination and found many similarities in their outcomes compared to heterosexual women. Meanwhile, NBC News reported on the potential of freezing one’s eggs to add fertility options for transgender men, as the procedure has increased more than tenfold since 2009 among cisgender women.

Court Favors Equal Care

ThinkProgress reported that the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on coverage of gender-affirming surgery for those who receive Medicaid. While Medicaid is a partially federal program, it is administered by the states, who set many of their own coverage rules – often excluding transgender-related care. The court said the ban violated the state’s civil rights law.

Unpacking Plan to End HIV

A study analyzed the new plan by the U.S. government to end new HIV transmissions nationwide by 2030, which involves targeted 48 of the most highly-impacted counties in the country. The authors say the plan will have to improve both prevention and treatment for those already living with HIV, as well as address underlying factors (like racism) that drive disparities.

TransVetsFlagMental Health of Trans Veterans

A study examined the mental health of transgender veterans and found that experiencing discrimination was associated with suicidal ideation. Factors that mitigated this association included support from transgender friends and connection to LGBT and veteran communities. Researchers say more study is needed on how to address the health effects of discrimination.

Now Nonbinary Folks Face Blood Discrimination

NBC News reported on a gender nonbinary Californian who was turned away from giving blood. The would-be donor has an “X” on their state identification rather than a “male” or “female” marker, which put the individual at odds with the FDA’s guidance that donors give a binary gender at blood centers. The case mirrors the discrimination that queer men have routinely faced in giving blood for years.

Tackling “Bi Invisibility”

HRC shared the work of bisexual activists to end biphobia and bi invisibility, which they say contribute to disparities that bi people face from cancer risks to mental health issues. They also say that research has only recently begun to disaggregate bisexual folks from gays and lesbians, thus allowing us to learn more about their particular health needs. The article is part of HRC’s work to recognize March as Bisexual Health Month.

New Findings on Suicide and LGBT Adults

Researchers provided new insight into suicide among LGBT people, analyzing national data of which 621 victims were identified in reporting as LGBT. Among the findings were that gay and lesbian victims were more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have been diagnosed with a mental illness. NBC News reported on the importance of the study and the need for more research, including looking at the intersection of age.

If you or someone you know needs help, see resources like the Trevor Project or Trans Lifeline.

LGBT Youth and Substance Use YouthDrugs

A study found that LGB adolescents were more likely than their heterosexual peers to engage in various types of polysubstance use (that is, using more than one substance such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana). They also found that the disparities between heterosexual and queer students was even more pronounced among female youth than among male youth.

Out and Outside

Outside Magazine reported on a new organization getting queer people outside to hike, meet new people in a welcoming environment, and build community – not to mention receive the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor exercise. It’s even helping to create jobs for the guides, which the organization says are needed for given high LGBT unemployment and poverty rates.

Hormone Dose and BMI

Researchers explored starting doses of hormone therapy for patients with gender dysphoria, particularly as it relates to the patient’s body mass index (BMI). They found that higher BMI was associated with lower estrogen dose requirements for transgender women but higher testosterone doses in transgender men, and suggest that more study is needed to understand hormone therapy.

Conference to Address Ending HIV

The CDC shared more information about this year’s National HIV Prevention Conference, which will take place later this month with the theme, “Getting to No New HIV Infections.” A main focus of the conference will be the new federal plan to reduce new HIV infections by 90% over the next ten years, a challenging goal that they say is possible with methods including PrEP.

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DYK: Some LB Women Use Marijuana More Than Straight Women? #LGBTWellness

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

LGBTPotQueer Women Face PTSD Challenges A new study found that sexual minority PTSD survivors were more likely to use cannabis products and had higher severity of PTSD than their heterosexual counterparts. LGBTQ Nation explored the implications of the study for the queer community.

Healthcare Professionals and Discrimination USA Today reported on a transgender nurse who won a case in Iowa after being denied access to the bathroom that matched his gender identity. Meanwhile, Forbes explored new research finding rampant discrimination against female doctors, with one study showing that 58% of female surgeons were sexually harassed in the last year alone.

Gender-neutral HPV Vaccines Would Work A Swedish study explored the cost effectiveness of making HPV vaccination programs gender-neutral. Programs in Sweden, like their U.S. counterparts, have targeted adolescent girls and left out m boys (including queer male adolescents, who face high risk). They found that vaccinating all youth would indeed prevent HPV-related cancer, save lives, and be cost-effective.

Psychiatry and Queer Women Experts published a history of mental health treatment for women in England, and found that such treatment was far less documented than treatment for men, which was centered around aversion therapy (for those who were not jailed for breaking laws against male same-sex relations). They found a mix of positive and negative treatment, which they say still today affects the perception of mental healthcare in the LGBT community.

How Laws Impact HIV, Health UNAIDS launched a new campaign to mark March 1st as “Zero Discrimination Day,” which acknowledges the way that discriminatory laws contribute to stigma and thus exacerbate the spread of HIV. This role of stigma and discrimination also helps explain why many marginalized groups, such as LGBT people and people of color, face higher risk of HIV transmission.

A Public Health Response to Hate HarvardVidHarvard School of Public Health produced an hour-long program on addressing the spread of hate and racism in particular as a public health crisis. In addition to examining the rise in hate crimes, they also looked at the role of the internet and the impact of the rapid spread of hateful messages as potentially impacting the mental health of millions.

Fighting Cancer with Communication Researchers found that among sexual minority women, the quality of patient-provider communication and trust in providers were positively associated with patient intention to receive cervical cancer screenings, and that these factors mediated the negative impact of perceived discrimination. This means improving patient-provider relationships could improve cancer screening outcomes for sexual minorities.

LGBTQ Youth Face Housing, Foster Care Issues Researchers in California found that 30.4% of youth living in foster care and 25.3% of unstably housed youth identify as LGBTQ, despite only comprising about 11.2% of the overall youth population. They also faced disparities such as poorer mental health and higher substance use for unstably housed LGBTQ youth, and more fights in school and more mental health problems for LGBTQ foster youth, when compared with non-LGBTQpeers.

Body Image Study Launches Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on a new worldwide study being driven by Grindr that will examine body image issues among queer men. Researchers say that there is reason to believe that gay and bisexual men are at risk for body issue problems, eating disorders, steroid use, and more, but that more study is needed – making this new initiative promising.

TransPhobiaTransphobia Needs Targeting in Medical Education A new study found that providers’ self-reported knowledge about transgender care was associated with whether or not they had transphobic attitudes, but not with the amount of formal or informal education they had received on the subject. The authors say that this means increased training is not enough, unless it addresses transphobia and implicit bias that providers may have.

States Take On Bullying The Sacramento Bee reported on proposed legislation in California that would fund school districts to have annual trainings designed to combat anti-LGBT bullying, which experts say contributes to mental health disparities. Meanwhile, the Providence Journal explored research and activism in Rhode Island on reducing bullying against transgender students in particular.

Women of Color and Mental Health WTOP and Johns Hopkins explored how women of color can take charge of their mental health, for which they say Black women are about half as likely to seek help as are White women. They share tips like getting good rest, exercising, and knowing one’s limits, as well as fighting back against stigma and finding competent help in a field lacking in racial dive

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Mental Wellness: Just One Part of #LGBTWellness

Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, and researcher and blogger Corey Prachniak-Rincón bring you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.

EvanRachelWoodBisexual Actor Talks Stigma, Mental Health

Nylon published an essay by actor Evan Rachel Wood in which she explores her history with sexual abuse, PTSD, suicidality, and seeking the mental health treatment that she needed. Wood, who has come out as bisexual and worked to advance queer rights, explores how stigma, quality, and cost of mental health care can prevent people from getting what they need.

If you or someone you know needs support, please review resources such as the Trevor Project or National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mental Health and the Trans Community

A new study examined the mental health needs of transgender and gender nonbinary patients at an urban health clinic. Patients who were assigned male at birth had lower odds of a psychiatric diagnosis than those who were assigned female at birth. They also found that higher odds of substance use disorders were associated with having started hormone treatment later in life.

Discrimination Connected to Unmet Care Needs

Researchers found that 23% of young transgender women participating in an NIH-funded study had unmet healthcare needs. Additionally, women who had experienced transgender-related healthcare discrimination faced 4.54 times the odds of not getting all the care they needed, and women who had avoided care due to its cost faced 1.98 times the odds of having unmet needs.

State Sued for Trans Discrimination

MetroWeekly reported on a lawsuit against the state of Arizona, which (like many states) discriminates against care for transgender individuals. A transgender state employee filed the class action suit after his healthcare plan denied him access to procedures like hysterectomies and mastectomies that are covered for cisgender people but denied when part of gender-affirming care.

Understanding Gonorrhea Gonorrhea

JAMA Internal Medicine published a helpful guide to gonorrhea, a sometimes overlooked sexually transmitted infection that they say all men who have sex with men should get tested for, as well as many other individuals. The article also notes the importance of patients feeling free to discuss their sexual history with their providers so that the provider can accurately assess risk.

Rare Breast Cancer Case Explored

A study examined a rare case of breast cancer in a transgender man receiving testosterone therapy, one of fewer than 20 such cases that have been reported in medical journals. The authors of the study say that more research is needed to understand if gender-affirming hormone therapy can increase risk for such cancers, as right now too little data exists.