40 Years of the HIV Epidemic – #LGBTWellness Roundup

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.

LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.

HIV Epidemic Turns 40

CNN reported on reaching the 40 year mark since the first cases of HIV in the US, which was first reported as five cases of a strange illness among gay men in Los Angeles. The CDC continued to follow up that report as more cases emerged, but little was known about the deaths and it took then-President Reagan four years to acknowledge the outbreak in the ’80s. HIV/AIDS would go on to claim more than 30 milion lives worldwide, including 700,000 in the US alone. 

Stressors and Substance Use

A study found that among gender minority adolescents, there were some important factors that explained the relationship between gender-related stressors and substance use. Resilience and gender-related pride were protective whereas internalized transphobia was a major risk factor. Family functioning and social support were also protective in some cases with respect to alcohol use. The study followed 30 teens for two years. 

Queer HPV Program Studied

Researchers studied an HPV vaccination program for queer men in Canada, and found that initiating vaccination was associated with getting tested for HIV or STIs, or having visited an HIV provider in the last six months. The program was more successful among men aged 26 or younger, who qualified for free vaccination, than among queer men 27 and up, among whom having private insurance made individuals twice as likely to get vaccinated. 

Trans and Nonbinary Pregnancy Experiences

Today reported on what it is like to experience pregnancy as a transgender man or nonbinary person, including the stereotypes, discrimination, and lack of culturally competent and inclusive care that one can encounter. It can be especially challenging given the number of providers an individual may have to see over the course of pregnancy and postpartum care, which often involved educating those providers and the stress that comes with that, advocates said. This situation has caused many trans and nonbinary parents to opt for the privacy of home births. 

Conversion Efforts Have Mental Health Consequences

A study in Korea found that sexual minorities who had experienced efforts to change their sexual orientation were 1.44 times more likely to have contemplated suicide than were sexual minorities who had not experienced such treatment, and were 2.35 times more likely to have actually attempted suicide. The results, which show similar harms from attempts to change one’s sexual orientation as have U.S. studies, demonstrate the need for such practices to be banned, researchers said.

Dr. Levine Defends Youth

NBC News reported on the work being done by Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, to raise awareness on the needs of transgender youth. Dr. Levine has called out recent policies seeking to discriminate against transgender youth in sports, healthcare access, and more, and could use her growing portfolio of mental heatlh policy oversight to address the needs of youth whom she says need to be supported rather than targeted. 

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