Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.
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LGBT Folks Show Physical, Mental Symptoms
A new study found that LGBT individuals were more likely to have experienced physical symptoms of COVID-19 during the pandemic than were their heterosexual, cisgender peers. They were also more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety, including at levels that crossed the clinical concern threshold, highlighting the toll that the pandemic was taking on mental health.
PrEP Interest High, Use Low
Out reported on a new study finding that PrEP use among queer men in the U.S. remains stubbornly low, with only ten percent of study participants consistently taking the drug to prevent HIV infection. While 90% of gay and bisexual men said they were willing to try PrEP, and many did try it during the study’s period, far fewer men continued to use it moving forward.
Communities Supporting LGBT Older Adults
Oakland Press reported on the ongoing challenges facing LGBT older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. LGBT older adults often rely more on their communities and chosen families, and staying connected has been hard as this group is also at higher risk for COVID-19. The article highlights numerous community programs that can help bridge the gap.
Pandemic Complicates Limited Resources for Youth
On the other side of the age spectrum, WZDX reported on how the pandemic is impacting LGBT youth in Alabama and nationwide. The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of all youth, but LGBT youth are already more likely to face mental health challenges due to stigma and discrimination. Support at school – already an issue for many – has become even more complicated in the age of remote and “hybrid” learning.
To find a local LGBT center near you, and see what they are doing to support LGBT youth and older adults, visit CenterLink’s directory.
Some States Poised to Reduce Rights
The Daily Beast reported on moves happening in some states to ban transgender teens from being able to access hormone therapy and puberty blockers, or to participate in school sports. Thirteen states have seen such legislation filed this year, and more could follow. Advocates say these policies would increase stigma and worsen the mental health of trans teens.
North Carolina Sees Changes
Meanwhile, NBC News reported that North Carolina saw a recent rush of local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances, as a statewide prohibition on local LGBT protections expired on December 1. Three cities have already passed protections this year that include prohibiting discrimination in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare settings, as well as at work.
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