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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Research Equity on Tour
Colorado Public Radio reported on the All of Us research initiative, which has had an exhibit touring the country (including a recent stop in Denver). The program is building a huge database of health information to be used by researchers to address health inequities. In Colorado, 2,175 participants have shared their health information and a biosample – of whom 80% are from underrepresented groups, including LGBT individuals and people of color. Anyone can participate in the program to help improve health research on these communities by visiting joinallofus.org, including their LGBT information page.
Sexual Minority Men and Inflamatory Bowel Disease
Gut published a study on inflamatory bowel disease (IBD) among men. According to a press release, they found that men who engaged in what was called “high-risk sexual activity” with other men were twice as likely to develop IBD as were men who engaged in “high risk” activity with only women. This included a disparity with respect to Crohn’s disease, which was diagnosed in 0.8% of sexual minority men who engaged in higher risk activity, and an even greater disparity with respect to ulcerative colitis, which was diagnosed in about 1.26% of sexual minority men; the rate was about 0.5% for both conditions among heterosexual men. The authors recently received a grant from NIH to continue rese arching, as little evidence on the topic exists that accounts for sexual orientation.
Medical Coding a Barrier for Trans Folks
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on how coding for medical services in healthcare billing systems often creates a barrier for transgender people – for example, by having services considered to be medically necessary being registered as cosmetic. A new edition of the coding system, which has been endorsed by the World Health Organization for three years now, addresses some of these issues and replaces outdated terms such as “transsexualism.” Changes could be slow coming in the U.S., which took 25 years to implement the last update recommended by the WHO.
Widespread Ignorance, Opposition to Trans Rights
Pew Research Center published a report finding that only 8% of Americans were following news about anti-transgender policies being proposed or enacted in many states across the U.S., with the vast majority of folks paying these developments little or no attention. The survey also looked at opinions on an array of trans issues and found strong support for nondiscrimination laws for employment, housing, and public accommodations – but otherwise mostly found opposition or indifference to favorable trans-related policies, and support for policies around issues like bathroom access and athletic participation that trans advocates say are harmful.
Exploring Victimization in Nigeria
BMC Public Health published a study exploring the relationship between sexual identity, HIV status, bullying, and victimization in Nigeria. Among the findings were that people living with HIV were at increased risk for physical, sexual, and emotional violence, as were people who had a history of being bullied. They also found that married people had lower odds of these problems than did non-married people, while people who were cohabitating with a partner were more likely than others to experience emotional violence.
Gay Tennis Player Helps Lead on Mental Health
Outsports reported on a youth tennis tournament with a unique mission – to spread awareness about mental health for student athletes. Gay tennis player and grad student Nick Lee has been contributing to the effort by leading the production of a workbook to help student atheletes improve their mental health while they are off the court. Lee cautions that while sports may seem to offer an “escape” from struggles with one’s identity or other mental health issues, sports can also add to stress, and intentionality is needed to actually improve mental health through athletics.