Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
Reporting from HP2020 Launch Event in Washington, DC
Historic Attention to LGBT Health
It’s been a decade in coming, but the government blueprint of their health goals is officially unveiled today!! You’ll be very happy to hear that there is a new section on LGBT health, which is historic alone, and we must remember this is the first time T has been included at all!!
The Network’s been part of a small group meeting with the HP2020 organizers for years now, we formally participated in the tobacco workgroup, and it was through one of our advocacy meetings that we pushed them to propose a new HP2020 LGBT workgroup (which we then helped them draft justification for). Someone must’ve noticed all our nudging because last night I got a call from the HP2020 director saying Secretary Sebelius’ office just emailed her to make sure the Network got VIP treatment at the launch today!!
So, I’ve jetted down and I’ve snagged a chair right behind where the Surgeon General is supposed to be sitting and I’m now waiting for the launch.
And word from here is they will be taking questions from both Twitter and email, so follow @gohealthypeople on Twitter or hit them on their email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow me at @scoutout for live tweets as we go or stay tuned here for a summary recap afterwards!
App Challenge To Be Announced
One bit of gossip I’m overhearing is that they are going to announce a challenge for developers to create iphone, android and computer apps that help launch Healthy People! I love that idea, what about an application to help LGBT folk give their input on when health is going wrong for us?
Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) will be launched Thursday December 2, 2010 and the HP 2020 website has just rolled out. Setting a “10-year agenda for improving the Nation’s health,” the HP 2020 objectives will guide national priorities (e.g., funding) for data collection, prevention, treatment, and research.
Significantly, HP 2020 has included LGBT Health as a specific topic area for the first time. New HP 2020 web resources, including a particularly comprehensive and well-documented HP 2020Fact Sheet on Transgender Health, report significant health disparities for LGBT people. However, a close review of HP 2020 objectives reveals a continuing lack of LGBT inclusion.
Those who recall the 2001 LGBT companion document to Healthy People 2010, will also remember how swiftly that groundbreaking resource was withdrawn from the HP 2010 website. Visit the HP 2020 website now to download resources. Please also monitor the site regularly to ensure that resources remain available.
“Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Experiences of violence and victimization are frequent for LGBT individuals, and have long-lasting effects on the individual and the community. Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals.” Furthermore, “Transgender individuals have a high prevalence of HIV/STDs, victimization, mental health issues, and suicide and are less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals.”
The new Healthy People 2020 Fact Sheet on Transgender Health states: “[P]ublic health research, spurred by the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the last 20 years, has shed light on the health disparities endured by this socially stigmatized and heavily marginalized population. This fact sheet reviews epidemiological data reported in behavioral risk studies and needs assessment surveys obtained from convenience samples of 50 to 517 transgender participants conducted in the U.S. and published from 1993 to 2010.”
Documented by 76 separate sources, the Transgender Health fact sheet reviews nine HP 2020 topic areas, such as “Access to Health Services,” “HIV,” “Injury and Violence Prevention,” “Public Health Infrastructure,” and “Tobacco Use.”
Excerpts from section on Access to Health Services:“Discrimination by health care providers who have denied medical care to transgender people has been reported in six studies ranging from 11 to 53 percent. […] Past experiences with provider insensitivity and hostility can produce intense fears of disclosure of transgender status, causing many to avoid health care altogether.”“H]ealth insurance coverage for these transgender-specific health services continues to be commonly excluded by most U.S. health care insurers.These blanket exclusions in health insurance policies present barriers to access to all types of health care.” This section contrasts the outdated Medicare coverage exclusion with the medical consensus expressed by AMA, APA, NASW and WPATH, and also documents increasing inclusion in commercial health plans.
Excerpts from section on HIV:“The HIV/AIDS epidemic has had a devastating impact on transgender people. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not report HIV/AIDS rates among transgender people, HIV prevalence rates among transgender women vary from 5 to 68 percent in studies conducted in 12 U.S. citiesand from 9.6 to 10.5 percent in 2 states. HIV infection is highest among transgender women of color… ” Nonetheless, significant gaps in testing and treatment are documented.