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.
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Trans Women of Color Identifying Earlier
A new study of young transgender women, aged 16-29 found that trans women of color reported earlier experiences with hormone therapy initiation, sexual debut, transfeminine disclosure and identity expression in public, compared to their White counterparts. Researchers said in a press release that the results may reflect the impact of racial discrimination on the community as well as differing norms relating to disclosing identity. The results suggest both elevated risk of acquiring HIV and other STDs among young transgender women of color but also the need for more resources and support.
Med School Experiences and Doctor Bias
Researchers at Yale studied over 2,900 medical students and residents and found that increased positive experiences with LGBT community earlier in their medical career was correlated with decreased bias towards sexual minorities later on in their career. The study reinforces the importance of not just LGBT competency as part of comprehensive medical training but exposure to sexual minority communities during medical training to improve overall doctor-patient relationships.
Knowing Orientation Means More Encouraging Care
A study found that providers were more likely to encourage patients to receive sexual healthcare (like HPV vaccines and STI tests) when they knew their patients sexual orientation, regardless of the orientation reported. It also found that sexual minority patients were more likely to receive such encouragement than were patients with no same-sex partners, with the exception of lesbian women, who were encouraged less than heterosexual women to get HPV vaccines and Pap tests.
Seeking Diverse Study Samples
Researchers explored social media strategies for reaching transgender youth for HIV prevention studies. They found that Craigslist, Facebook, and peer-to-peer referrals were all successful ways of recruiting trans youth, and that Craigslist was especially promising for youth of color – showing that diverse survey samples are not out of reach. Did you know that you can help contribute to diverse health research by participating in the All of Us Research Program campaign?
Doctors Call Out “Conversion Therapy”
U.S. News reported on a perspective piece from physicians on the dangers of so-called “conversion therapy,” in which one attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. While 18 states have banned the practice on children, none have done so for adults, despite what doctors say are serious health, wellbeing, and socioeconomic problems it can cause.
LGBT Health in the Arab World
Al-Fanar Media reported on the difficulties of getting patients in the Middle East to disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity, given cultural attitudes on LGBT issues, which makes researching the population difficult. Mental health providers were farther along than general healthcare providers at accepting all orientations and gender expressions as being healthy and were more likely to use appropriate pronouns.
Trans Wellness Conference Hits Philly
Metro reported on the world’s largest free, trans-specific event, the Philly Trans Wellness Conference, which drew thousands of trans folks and their allies to Pennsylvania. The annual event includes a track for health and legal professionals, but also offers countless sessions for transgender individuals of all ages to learn about topics that are rarely given attention and to network with people of shared experiences.
Unpacking Private Insurance Data
A new study examined private health insurance data to compare health status outcomes among gender minority individuals. It found that gender minority identity was 8.5 times to also have a mental health diagnosis, 3.4 times as likely to have a substance use disorder, and 1.4 times as likely to have diabetes. The disparities were mostly driven by high rates of these conditions among youth, under 18 years of age.
Measuring HIV Prevention Effectiveness
The CDC published a new resource that compares the effectiveness of various HIV prevention options among different sub-populations, including men who have sex with men and transgender women. They found that, for example, “consistent use” of condoms during sex was 63-91% effective for HIV prevention among men who have sex with men, whereas oral daily PrEP was about 99% effective among this same population.
Mental Health of Cancer Survivors
Researchers found that limited information is available on the mental health of sexual minority cancer survivors. Of all published medical literature, only twelve studies met their criteria and compared sexual minority and heterosexual survivors’ mental health. While the studies did not find significant differences for women, they did show sexual minority men to face increased risk of depression, distress, and anxiety compared to heterosexual male survivors.
Happy Health Center Week!
The National LGBT Health Education Center marked National Health Center Week by sharing recently-added webinars like how to better care for sexual minority women and navigate insurance issues for transgender patients. Health Center Week is designed to recognize the role that health centers play in bringing care to under served groups, including LGBT folks.
Gender Equity and Public Health
The Lancet editorialized that ending the HIV epidemic will require ending gender inequity, too. They note that factors like stigma facing transgender people and sexual assault risk among women limit the effectiveness of HIV prevention strategies, and they call for laws protecting these populations and health programs that help empower them.