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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Feds Expand LGBT Healthcare Protections
WebMD reported that the Biden administration will interpret the Affordable Care Act’s ban on sex-based discrimination to include discrimination against LGBT individuals, reversing a policy of the previous administration. The change is based in part on the Supreme Court’s landmark Bostock decision, which found that sex discrimination bans in the context of employment included LGBT individuals. The administration will now consider it illegal to discriminate against LGBT folks in healthcare.
Lack of Data Now Impacting Vaccination
The New York Times reported on lingering concerns that LGBT individuals are not being counted with respect to COVID-19 data, which rarely includes questions about sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). Few jurisdictions attempted to collect SOGI data on COVID-19 cases, and now the same is happening with respect to vaccinations. Not only will this make it impossible to track vaccination among LGBT folks, it is also a missed opportunity to signal inclusiveness and thus increase vaccine uptake, advocates say.
HIV Seems to Worsen COVID-19 Outcomes
Penn State News reported on a new study finding that people living with HIV were 24% more likely to be infected by COVID-19 and 78% more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to people who were not living with HIV. Research to date has been inconclusive on the relationship between COVID-19 and HIV – which disproportionately affects LGBT individuals and people of color – but the results suggest people living with HIV should be a priority in COVID-19 responses.
Flavored Tobacco Bans a Step against Disparities
The Sun Journal published an op-ed exploring why banning the sale of flavored tobacco products is an important steps towards ending disparities facing groups such as people of color and LGBT folks. The author explains how marketing tactics and exploitation of the LGBT community by “Big Tobacco” helps explain the widespread disparities they are now facing in terms of tobacco use. The author also notes that smoking also impacts COVID-19 outcomes, where these same populations face dispariteis.
Clinical Guidance for Trans Patients Lacking
A study found that better and more expansive clinical guidance is needed regarding care for transgender people worldwide. It found that most of the limited guidance that does exist focused on HIV or on transition-related care; other areas, including primary care and mental health care, were largely ignored in the literature. The study also found that more patient-facing materials were needed.
Center Spotlight: Long Beach Expands Services
Long Beach Business Journal interviewed the new director of the LGBTQ Center Long Beach, Carlos Torres, as his team reinstates some in-person programming as the COVID-19 situation improves. In-person therapy has resumed, as has outdoor wellness programming for seniors, which Torres says is sorely needed to address the isolation they’ve felt during the pandemic. They are also working to offer a new PrEP clinic to improve outreach and access to the HIV prevention treatment.
Find out what your local LGBT center is doing to improve health using CenterLink’s interactive center directory.