Is Being Gay in Our Genes? Listen to This Week’s #LGBTWellness Podcast and Find Out

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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Listen to our weekly podcast here: https://apple.co/2lzs5Ti or on your podcast app of choice. Now available everywhere!

GenesMultiple Genes Contribute to Sexual Orientation

STAT reported on a groundbreaking study which found that genetics are indeed related to sexual orientation, but do not tell scientists enough to predict orientation based just on DNA (at least not yet). Additionally, they found that many genetic variants contribute to one’s orientation, and that there is thus no single “gay gene”. The study included the DNA of over 400,000 individuals.

School Policies Associated with Disparities

A new study found that in states with prohibitions on the so-called “promotion of homosexuality” in schools, disparities existed between sexual minority and heterosexual students with respect to use of e-cigarettes that did not exist in states without these laws. Researchers say that stress from living under discriminatory laws may play a role in disparate e-cigarette use.

Treating Cancer among LGBTQ Youth

Healio reported on efforts in Australia to make healthcare professionals more welcoming of LGBTQ youth and young adults with cancer, a population which has remained mostly invisible. Researchers developed suggestions including comprehensive and ongoing training, creating safe spaces within hospitals, and partnering with more LGBTQ community stakeholders.

Differences in HIV Testing Rates HIVTest

Researchers examined differences in HIV testing with respect to gender, sexual orientation, and race and ethnicity. Overall, Black men and women and Latinx men had higher lifetime testing rates than their White counterparts, whereas Asian men and women had lower rates than their White peers. Among men, gay Latinx men had the highest lifetime testing rate – 92.6%.

Sexual Minorities and Sexual Assault

The Conversation reported on the unique harms suffered by queer men who face sexual assault, who also may be less likely to report instances because of fear of stigma or victim-blaming. Rates of sexual assault among sexual minority males are even higher than those who are not. Experts say sexual minority survivors may face negative psychological outcomes with relation to their LGBTQ identities, which can entail low self-esteem and trouble managing relationships.

Defining Bisexuality

Prevention explored the meaning of terms like bisexual, pansexual, and more – the definitions of which often confuse those working in the health field (not to mention others). The author busts some common myths about the term “bisexual” by noting that bisexuality does not imply equal attraction to more than one gender, or that that attraction is always both sexual and romantic.

Trans College Students Face Challenges

Researchers found that in a data set of 65,000 college students, gender minority status was associate with a 4.3 increased odds at having at least one mental health problem compared to cisgender students. While problems like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders impacted 45% of cisgender students, 78% of gender minority students (almost 8 in 10) were affected.

35,000 Cancer Cases Attributable to HPV

A CDC study found that almost 35,000 cancers annually between 2012 and 2016 were attributable to HPV, with 92% of these cases being attributable to HPV strands that are targeted by the 9-valent HPV vaccine. More than half, 59% of these cancers caused by targeted strands of HPV occurred in women and 41% occurred in men. Other research has found that vaccinating more young men would particularly benefit gay, bisexual, and queer men.

New York Officials Condemn Forced Surgery

OZY featured an op-ed from top health and human rights officials in New York, recommending strongly against involuntary surgery performed on intersex babies and youth. Two percent (2%) of the population is born with an intersex trait and 1 in 2,000 babies is at risk of having “corrective” surgery performed on them, which the experts say these surgeries could be “damaging and traumatic.”

HarvardDocHow to Talk to Your Doc

Harvard Health published a guide for how LGBT people can talk comfortably with their doctors about their sex life, which is key to ensuring one’s doctor is providing necessary and appropriate care. Their tips include being upfront about goals and concerns, taking a partner (or someone else) who makes the patient feel comfortable, and asking difficult but important questions.

Youth Interventions Need Study

A new study found a scarcity of scientific research on interventions to help LGBT youth with issues relating to substance use, mental health, and violence. In nearly 20 years’ worth of studies relating to the population, only nine studied the effectiveness of programs to address these pressing issues. Researchers say that the lack of proof around effective programs should be seen as an opportunity for scientists to evaluate promising programs.

Improving Data on Gender Identity

Researchers examined issues that remain with respect to gender identity and research samples. Since 2014, the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) has allowed for optional collection of gender identity information, providing probability samples that can be used to study transgender health. But problems with generalizability remain, leading to the author’s recommendations.


More Healthcare Facilities Get High Marks in This Week’s #LGBTWellness News

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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Listen to our weekly podcast here: https://apple.co/2lzs5Ti or on your podcast app of choice. Now available everywhere!


400+ Facilities Get Top Marks

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released its annual Healthcare Equality Index, which scores healthcare facilities on equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and staff. This year, 406 facilities were awarded a top “100” score. The report assesses facilities based on nondiscrimination policies and training, patient and employee support, and patient and community engagement. Readers can explore the index to find an inclusive site near them.

How HIV Status Relates to Cancer Outcomes

A study of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked data in the United States, found that cancer patients living with HIV had higher cancer-specific mortality rates with respect to prostate cancer (1.65 times higher rate) and breast cancer (1.85 times higher rate) compared to HIV-negative patients. Men living with HIV also reported higher rates of relapse or death with respect to prostate cancer, as did women living with HIV with respect to breast cancer .

TransHealthStudy.JPGTrans Support Groups Great for Parents, Too

Researchers identified perceived benefits for parents who participated in support groups for families of transgender youth: with 66.7% saying it was “important or critically important” for their child and even more – 72.9% – saying the same for themselves. In addition to being a source of emotional support, parents used the groups to get medical, legal, and school resource ideas.


Another State Moves for Inclusive Classes

The Washington Post reported on efforts in Maryland to create LGBT-inclusive history education standards, which they say is important not just for LGBT students to see themselves in the material, but also for other students to better understand them. In this way, curricula can lead to safer and more inclusive schools. At least four states have taken similar steps, though the Post reports that implementation of such standards is often difficult.

Challenges for Trans Men in Pregnancy

Out Magazine reported on the challenges that await transgender men who become pregnant, including a medical professional that is not always understanding and competent, and situations that can worsen gender dysphoria. While there is not much data on pregnancy among transgender men, experts estimate that 30% of these pregnancies may be unplanned.

Impact of Opioid Epidemic on HIV HIV AIDS

Researchers explored how the opioid epidemic has lead to HIV outbreaks in areas that previously had not been particularly affected by HIV, including rural areas. The article proposes several public health strategies that could help reduce HIV risk until the opioid crisis abates, including needle exchange programs and access to PrEP among opioid users.



Transwomen of Color Coming Out Sooner – #LGBTWellness This Week

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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Listen to our weekly podcast here: https://spoti.fi/2OqsIN1

Trans Women of Color Identifying Earlier TransWOC.JPG

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.

CondomsMeasuring 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! NatHealthCenterWeek

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.


#LGBTWellness News – And a Podcast, Too!

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.

Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Listen to our weekly podcast here: https://spoti.fi/2OqsIN1

MAPDisabilitiesLGBT People with Disabilities

Movement Advance Project marked the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by sharing a report on LGBT people with disabilities. They estimate that 3 to 5 million LGBT people in the U.S. have disabilities, and explore the challenges this population has in accessing healthcare, education, jobs, and even LGBT spaces.

Peer-to-peer Intervention Connects to Care

An NIH-funded study found that HIV treatment services for same gender-loving men and transgender women who are not currently connected with care, can increase engagement in medical care. The study used peer-to-peer recruitment of people living with HIV with unsuppressed viral loads. Most, 91% of participants were retained in care after 12 months, by which time almost half had reached viral suppression.

Neurologist Readiness for LGBT Patients

Neurology Today reported on a survey of members of the American Academy of Neurology, which found that more than 8 in 10 neurologists (84%) said they know that LGBT people face health disparities. However, only one-third said they would tailor care for LGBT people, despite what the study’s author says are clear links between LGBT identities and neurological conditions.

Health Centers Release Data

Fenway Institute published a study of LGBT patients of health centers, which have just begun to report on sexual orientation and gender identity. Less than 4% (3.7%) of patients identified as a sexual minority and 0.4% identified as transgender, but data was missing from more than half of patients. The missing data seemed to highlight the importance of health centers creating welcoming environments and having culturally competent staff.


Research for All of Us

On the subject of increasing data, the All of Us campaign uploaded new videos encouraging folks to sign up to participate in this nationwide effort to collect inclusive health data. These include a new video on the benefits of participating in All of Us. The campaign has been conducting heavy outreach to the LGBT community, who have often been left out of research.

LGBT Adults Face Cognitive Decline with Aging

Researchers found that LGBT adults are at higher risk for cognitive decline than were their non-LGBT peers, in a new study reported at an international Alzheimer’s conference. The study of over 44,000 adults found that 14% of LGBT folks aged 45-plus had significant cognitive decline, compared to 10% of non-LGBT individuals. While the source of this disparity is unknown, it may be due to factors like stress, depression, and reduced healthcare access.

LGBTBirthControlBirth Control for Trans and Nonbinary Folks

Vogue published a guide to accessing and understanding birth control for transgender and nonbinary folks. Among their tips: you deserve a knowledgeable and affirming provider, even if they’re hard to find; being on hormones does not mean that you can stop taking birth control if you wish to avoid pregnancy; and ask for the help you need in the process.

Progress Report on Inclusive Data

The Nation’s Health reported on the progress of the All of Us campaign, a nationwide effort to improve health data on underrepresented communities, that recently marked its one-year anniversary. So far, over 192,000 people have started the process of signing up; the campaign’s goal is 1 million. The campaign includes an LGBT-focused component, in which LGBT HealthLink, a program of CenterLink, serves a partner in increasing LGBT health data.

Understanding Risks Post-HPV Vaccine

A new study found that queer young men who are living with HIV generally had appropriate risk assumptions after getting a first round vaccination for HPV. On average, they understood that the HPV vaccine reduced their risk for that particular virus, while not reducing the risk for other STIs or the need to use condoms, although some still needed further education.

LGBT-focused Addiction Programs Nearly Nonexistent

Behavioral Healthcare Executive published an interview with the board president of NALGAP, the Association of LGBT Addiction Professionals and Their Allies. They discuss that while 854 recovery agencies nationwide claim they have LGBT programming, only 62 actually did offer such programs upon investigation, suggesting a huge gap in truly affirming and tailored care.

New Guide Promotes Cervical Cancer Screening FenwayCervCanScreen

The Fenway Institute published a guide to promoting cervical cancer screening among transgender men and other transmasculine individuals. They note that while the vast majority of transgender men are still at risk for cervical cancer, far fewer receive a Pap test than do their cisgender female peers. The report explains that low levels of provider knowledge and patient comfort help to explain the disparity, which can be reversed with education.

Coming Soon: Inclusive Filters?

Prevention.com shared a newly-launched campaign to get websites that commonly connect people to healthcare providers – like ZocDoc and Yelp – to offer a button or filter to show LGBT-inclusive providers. The author says that LGBT people have different health risks and needs, and that their health and wellbeing depend on them finding a competent provider.


#LGBTWellness Podcast Now Available!

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.



Now you can HEAR your Weekly Wellness Roundup, too! Listen to our weekly podcast here: https://spoti.fi/2OqsIN1



PrEP Use Varies Greatly by Race, Ethnicity

Researchers with the CDC found that knowledge and use of PrEP (the HIV prevention treatment) grew significantly between 2014 and 2017 among urban men who have sex with men. Those aware of PrEP climbed from 60% to 90% during this time, while usage jumped from 6% to 35%. However, men of color – who are more at risk for HIV – were less likely than White men to use PrEP, and for Black men, this was true even after controlling for factors like income and region .

“Microdosing” Grows More PopularMicrodosing

NBC News reported on the growing number of nonbinary individuals who are seeking low doses of hormones to help them achieve a more androgynous appearance. Little research has been done on the practice, known as microdosing, as studies have mostly focused on using hormones to achieve characteristics along binary, male-female  .

Queer Women at Risk for Binge Drinking

Researchers found that sexual minority women were more likely than other women to report binge drinking at 2 or 3 times the standard “cut-off” level for safe consumption, according to national data. On the other hand, sexual minority men were only as or less likely than other men to report such drinking. The results suggest sexual minority women are especially in need of intervention to prevent or respond to binge drinking .

Exploring Cancer Care for Trans Patients

Oncology Nurse Advisor explored the needs of transgender people with respect to cancer care. While noting that data is limited because it is not collected in national cancer registries, they say that transgender people may not always be aware of the risks they face, and neither are their providers – making them less likely to undergo potentially life-saving screenings. The article calls for more training and the creation of more welcoming, affirming medical environments.

BiFlag2Behavioral Health among Bi and Gay Adults

A study found that bisexual individuals faced higher levels of major depressive episodes than did both their heterosexual peers and their gay and lesbian peers, with lifetime prevalence of 30.8% among bisexual men and 35.8% of bisexual women. The study also looked at alcohol and illicit drug abuse or dependency, in which bisexual women had the highest rates .

Queer Women’s Fund a National First

The Bay Area Reporter shared that California has just established a $17.5 million Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women’s Health Equity Fund. The new fund – passed in the state’s annual budget and the first of its kind in the nation – will provide a new, dedicated funding opportunity to service providers interested in advancing queer women’s health in the Golden State.



#LGBTWellness News Celebrates World Cup Soccer

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.


Queer Community Scores at World Cup

NBC News reported on the impact of more “out” lesbian women in this year’s Women’s World Cup, in which the U.S. team alone has five out players as well as a lesbian coach. In total, the number of queer participants doubled from the 2015 to 2019 Cup . Experts say that this visibility is important for queer youth, who still have few role models in athletics and of whom only 24% play a sport, compared to 68% of youth overall.

More than 8 in 10 Trans Youth Bullied

Researchers found that 86.5% of transgender and nonbinary youth aged 16-25 had experienced bullying, and that the most common setting for this treatment was in school. Transgender and nonbinary youth who were assigned female at birth were more likely than those who were assigned male at birth to experience bullying, which had significant mental health effects.

HIV-HPV Data Inconclusive

A study explored the intersection between HIV and HPV, in which people living with HIV are at higher risk for HPV as well as for the cancers that HPV can cause. Unfortunately, the report found that evidence is inconclusive on how best to provide HPV vaccination to people living with HIV, and concludes that clinical studies testing various vaccine regimes are needed.


Scientific American explored how to tackle unconscious bias towards LGBT folks in science and technology (STEM) fields, which are critical in addressing LGBT health disparities. The article cites studies finding that LGBT people are underrepresented in STEM jobs and as research grantees, and that 70% of out STEM faculty report being uncomfortable in their environment.

School Hopes to Be Leader in South

Texas A&M announced that they will try to be the first institution in Texas to formally incorporate an LGBT health curriculum into its health degrees, an initiative led by its new Center for LGBT Health Education. The university said that given the high level of disparities facing the community, more is needed than just isolated research and sharing of best practices.

Best Practices for Improving Trans Care TransBandaid

A new study reviewed best practices on providing care for transgender patients, including providing hormone therapy, understanding options for surgery, and inclusively collecting data on gender identity in medial records. The lead author said that increasing competency widely in the medical field will reduce the need for transgender people to need highly specialized providers.

Beware of This Cancer Myth

BBC reported on what health experts are saying is a “dangerous myth” – that sexual minority women are not at risk for cervical cancer and do not need to get tested. The British healthcare system is warning women to get tested after a survey found that 29% of queer women falsely felt they were at reduced or no risk for the disease, which also impacts transgender and nonbinary people with cervixes.

More Than Half Haven’t Been Tested

The CDC recognized National HIV Testing Day with a theme entitled “Doing It My Way” that highlighted personal motivations for getting tested and options for doing so, including the growingly popular option of home testing. They also released a study finding that 60% of the population has never had an HIV test, and that 70% of those at higher risk had not had a test within the past year.

Parent-child Talks Are Complicated

A new study examined the experiences of gay and bisexual young men in talking about their identities and sexual health with their parents. The study found that even when parents tried to have affirming discussions, they were complicated by factors like siblings, the media, and religion.

LGBT Report Updated

LGBT organizations led by Movement Advancement Project published a second edition of the report, Understanding Issues Facing LGBT People in the U.S., to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. They share that not only do LGBT people score lower on an overall wellbeing index than do others (average score of 58 versus 62, respectively), but they score even lower on factors including physical health (26 versus 33).

How We Can Address Disparities

Futurity published an interview with Professor Julia Raifman, a leading LGBT health researcher, on how disparities in the community can best be addressed, including by addressing discrimination as an underlying cause for many health problems. Raifman says that increasing data on LGBT disparities inspired her to get involved in this work.

AOU Pride Poster


Do you want to inspire researchers and reduce inequities, too? Check out the All of Us initiative, with which LGBT HealthLink is proud to serve as a partner, and help contribute to a groundbreaking effort to increase health data on our communities.


Improving Women’s Health by Reforming Healthcare

Center for American Progress published a report on how reforming the payment and delivery system in the U.S. healthcare market could improve health outcomes for women. This includes sexual and gender minority women, who they note may especially benefit due to higher needs for mental healthcare in particular, and their increased likelihood of facing discrimination.



LGBTQ Youth Mental Health Survey Results Are In – #LGBTWellness News

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.

TrevorSurvey.JPGNational Survey Explores Mental Health

The Trevor Project released its inaugural, national survey of LGBTQ youth mental health. They found that almost four in ten (39%) LGBTQ youth had seriously considered suicide within the past twelve months. The number was even higher for transgender and nonbianry youth, of whom more than half expressed such thoughts. Slate delved into the results and some of the causes for the disparities, including conversion therapy and discrimination.

New Recommendations on HIV, PrEP

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published updated recommendations on HIV screening, which noted the significant decrease in risk of transmission among those who test positive and get on treatment. They also released recommendations for the provision of PrEP, for which they said evidence was strong that it can help prevent transmission among those high at risk.

Policies Could Mean Discrimination

JAMA published an article exploring how the expansion of religious conscience policies, which allow healthcare providers and facilities to object to providing services they find immoral, could impact the LGBTQ community’s access to healthcare. The author says that LGBTQ people could be completely turned away, which might be especially problematic in rural areas with few options.

LGBTQ Wellbeing in U.S. Territories LGBTPolicySpotlight.JPG

Movement Advancement Project released a report on the status of LGBTQ rights in the U.S. territories. Puerto Rico scored relatively well on having LGBTQ-inclusive policies, with a similar score to the state of Maine, while the territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands all faired poorer; for example, only Puerto Rico was above average when compared to U.S. states in terms of LGBTQ healthcare equality.

Supportive Families Mean Healthier Youth

LGBTQ Nation reviewed the latest research on family rejection and acceptance of LGBTQ youth, and found new evidence to support the idea that engaging with families is key for health and human service providers to best assist LGBTQ youth. They also explore how the Family Acceptance Project has broken new ground by training 92,000 family members on LGBTQ inclusion.

Celebrate Pride By Learning More

The National LGBT Health Education Center announced a series of new webinars coinciding with the conclusion of Pride Month. Topics include caring for sexual and gender minority women, the latest developments regarding PrEP and STI prevention, and improving sexual health among youth.

(webinars are available on demand)

LBG Folks at Risk for Diabetes

A new study found that people who had same-sex attraction, orientation, or behavior as adolescents and adults, or just as adults, were at higher risk than their heterosexual peers for diabetes. This association was even stronger for sexual minority women than it was for sexual minority men. Interestingly, individuals who expressed sexual minority identity as adolescents but not as adults were not at higher risk for diabetes as adults.

Queer Girls and Substance Use

Researchers found that sexual majority female adolescents were 400% as likely to engage in substance use as were their heterosexual peers, with disparities present even at age 13. The authors say that the results reaffirm the need to have targeted interventions to prevent substance use initiation among this group, as well as to decrease substance use over time.

Where to Retire Well

Senior Advice reported their take on the best places for LGBTQ folks to retire, based on factors like LGBTQ-inclusive local policies, LGBTQ-friendly community spaces for older adults, and overall cost of living. The cost of living issue in particular may give older LGBTQ adults entering retirement reason to look beyond famously queer hotspots like New York and San Francisco.

Scaling Up HPV Vaccine

A study examined the potential impact of scaling up HPV vaccination among young men who have sex with men from the current vaccination rate of 13% to numbers as high as 80% (the federal government’s goal under Healthy People 2020) or even 100%. Not surprisingly, they found that this would lead to major decreases in oral and anal HPV rates among sexual minority men. Vaccination (compared to condom use) was especially important in preventing oral HPV.

Trans Athlete Profiled

CNN reported on a transgender bodybuilder from Texas who is looking to inspire the trans community by finding success as an athlete, despite the discrimination and stigma he often finds at the gym. He says that getting into fitness helped him feel more affirmed in his identity as a transgender man.

HIV Care Beyond ART

Researchers examined the various ways in which scientists are attempting to achieve sustained HIV remission without the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), which – while increasingly successful – still means patients have to take costly pills daily for life. They say more research and innovation will still be needed to make any of the alternative therapies a reality.


#LGBTWellness and 50 Years of Stonewall Pride

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.Stonewall.png

Happy Pride! As Pride Month wraps up, LGBT HealthLink brings you a special edition of our Wellness Roundup focused on the history and importance of Stonewall and LGBT pride.

Stonewall50 Years of Fighting to Improve Health

The Lancet published an editorial on how 50 years of activism since Stonewall have advanced LGBT health , especially efforts toward addressing the HIV epidemic, but also noted the many challenges that still remain. For example, they note that there will be 7 million LGBT people aged 50-plus in the U.S. by 2030, but cultural competency among older adult service providers remains very limited. Also after exploring the disparities facing LGBT youth and LGBT people of color , there is a great need to keep up the fight to truly achieve equity!

Despite Progress, Bi Visibility Remains Limited BiVis

A new study found that bisexual individuals were far less likely to be fully “out” about their sexual orientation (with 19% reporting this) than were their gay and lesbian peers. Researchers note that while visibility for the bisexual community has increased, many do not come out due to stigma and different feelings and experiences with coming out.

Organization Apologies for Psychoanalytic History

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the American Psychoanalytic Association apologized to the LGBTQ community for its role in the pathologization of LGBTQ identities. Homosexuality and transgenderism were labeled as mental illnesses for decades, and the association says apologies can be important in addressing trauma.

ProudParent.JPGParents Need Time to Take Pride

U.S. News reported on a new study that found it can take time for parents of LGB youth to take pride in their children’s identities. The study found that on average, parents of youth who came out two years prior were still struggling as much as were parents of youth who had just come out. Parents of youth who had come out at least five years ago reported being most comfortable.

How Hiding Identities Impacts Health

Psychology Today published an article on how having to hide a part of your identity, including your sexual orientation or gender identity, can take a toll on your mental health, including by requiring “emotional labor” that can easily grow straining. While combating stigma can be hard, they say that slowly overcoming this and making your identity known to others has a big benefit.

Carrying the Mantle of HIV Advocacy AIDSActUp

Slate explored how the LGBTQ community can carry on the legacy of what HIV advocates have accomplished, beyond ending new HIV transmissions. For example, they say that working towards comprehensive sexual health education for all could help address the rising rates of other STIs, and the community could also help improve health access for other marginalized groups.



CenterLink Partners to End the HIV Epidemic






Janelle Taveras PhD, MPH, Project Administrator LGBT HealthLink at CenterLink

CenterLink’s LGBT HealthLink continues to expand its’ capacity to improve LGBTQ health by focusing on ending the HIV epidemic and reducing HIV-related disparities that affect our diverse communities. HIV is a consequence of intersectionality of multilayered factors which include race/ethnicity, immigration, sexual orientation, gender identity, and others. Knowledge of HIV status and the health of people with HIV vary widely across the US, with Southern states generally behind other regions in some key indicators across the HIV care continuum.  As such, the highest rates of HIV diagnosis in the US are found in its’ Southern region, particularly among Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana (24.9, 22.9 and 22.9 diagnoses per 100,000 people). By the end of 2015, Southern states accounted for approximately 46% of all people with HIV, including an estimated 86% (960,351) of people aware of their infection by the end of 2015.  By 2017, most of these new diagnoses (74%) in the southern US region were people of color. Blacks/African Americans followed by Hispanics/Latinx account for the highest proportion of both new HIV diagnoses and people living with HIV. Blacks/African Americans and Hispanic/Latinx communities accounted for 43% and 16%, respectively, of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas (N= 38,739). Members of sexual or gender minority groups, in addition to racial/ethnic minority groups, result in multilayered factors of HIV susceptibility. Gay and bisexual men account for the largest portion, 67% of new HIV diagnosis in the US and an estimated prevalence of HIV among transgender individuals ranging from 7% to 44%, with increasing estimates among racial/ethnic minorities.

Under the leadership of Dr. Regina Washington, Director of LGBT HealthLink and Development Officer, CenterLink, along with three (3) additional core partners, My Brother’s Keeper, Inc (MBK), University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Express Personal Health (EPH) Black AIDS Institute (BAI), are the co-recipients of new CDC funding for HIV capacity-building. This funding is aimed at the provision of technical assistance that supports clinical HIV testing and prevention for persons with HIV in the US southern region. Dr. Washington states, “To lead this effort in addressing the HIV epidemic for our national network, CenterLink has on-boarded HIV expert, Dr. Janelle Taveras, as the LGBT HealthLink Project Administrator.” Her more than 13 years of experience in the field of HIV include program planning and implementation, project coordinating, research and evaluation work for several CDC funded HIV/AIDS programs and projects within the Florida Department of Health. She has also been heavily involved in both the local and state Integrated Planning process since 2013 (Broward County and Florida, respectively). Through her work, Janelle has practiced knowledge of HIV epidemiology and surveillance, research and program development and coordination, biomedical interventions, HIV patient care systems, quality improvement, and multifaceted monitoring and evaluation methods. In addition, Janelle has participated in several studies at the AIDS Prevention Program at Florida International University designed to reduce HIV risk behaviors among vulnerable populations of adolescents, severely mentally ill adults, and recovering drug abusers. She has been a guest speaker on the topics of Behavioral Epidemiology, Public Health Surveillance, HIV and Millennials, and Health Equity. Janelle is a double graduate from Florida International University with both a Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology, where her dissertation work was focused on HIV risk behaviors, previous HIV testing, and positivity among Hispanic women tested for HIV in Florida.

As a coalition of over 220 LGBTQ community centers across the United States, CenterLink is well positioned to respond to the HIV epidemic by supporting these centers and addressing the challenges faced by the communities they serve. CenterLink’s mission is to develop strong, sustainable LGBTQ community centers and build a thriving center network that creates healthy, vibrant communities. Providing technical assistance and capacity building around HIV will require the consideration of comprehensive needs of the LGBTQ community. In the provision of holistic services to communities that are at significant risk of acquiring HIV, three issues will be emphasized: 1.) Increased attention and funding to these priority populations, 2.) meaningfully engaging these communities to be a part of the decision-making process, and 3.) utilizing appropriate evaluation indicators to measure progress. The work of this project will support the HIV prevention efforts in serving HIV-negative persons at greatest risk for HIV infection which includes blacks/African Americans; Hispanics/Latinos; all races/ethnicities of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM); people who inject drugs (PWID); transgender persons and other vulnerable populations. CenterLink’s role in this project is imperative in reaching LGBTQ communities that may be at significant risk of acquiring HIV and ensuring equity in HIV prevention services for these respective populations.

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New Findings on Pan and Trans Smoking – This Week in #LGBTWellness News

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.

RainbowMentalHealthHelp End Mental Health Stigma

HRC explored three ways that anyone can help end the stigma around mental health that often prevents LGBTQ people from getting treated. They suggest providing support for LGBTQ folks who experience bias or bullying, supporting policies that end discrimination, and sharing your story if you have been personally affected.

Trust Deficit in Queer Health

Researchers found that LGB individuals were more likely than their heterosexual peers to seek information about health-related topics, but less likely to do so first with a doctor, and were also less likely to trust health-related information from family or friends. Unfortunately, LGB people were also 2.3 times as likely to be worried about getting cancer, underscoring the need for more trusted sources of information in the community.

New Findings on Pan, Trans Smoking

A new study found that pansexual youth have higher rates of smoking than their gay and lesbian peers, and that pansexual boys in particular reported a high smoking prevalence of 21.6%. Transgender boys also faced disparities, including starting smoking at a younger age than others.

Experiencing Care as a Nonbinary Patient

Rewire published an essay exploring a nonbinary person’s experience getting a Pap smear. The author examines how things like being misgendered by staff and not being able to select one’s gender identity on intake forms impacted their experience. The article also offers recommendations for how providers can improve nonbinary-inclusive care.

HIV Self-test Kits Explored

A study examined the impact of HIV self-test kits – which have been available for years, but are still unpopular among public health programs – in the lives of men who have sex with men. It found that in the months when men used the self-test kit versus going to a clinic to be tested, they reported lower levels of social support, but also seemed to be engaging in more healthy activities. Researchers say this may mean self-test kits can help empower sexual minority men.

Celebrating LGBT Athletes Outsports

Outsports launched a series of articles on LGBTQ athletes, with a new profile out every day in June in celebration of Pride. First in the series: Dr. Tom Waddell, a track athlete who (after competing in the Olympics and getting injured) went on to form the Gay Games in San Francisco in 1982. Today, the Gay Games still support LGBTQ athletes around the world.

Queer Cancer Survivors Face Disparities

Researchers found that female sexual minority cancer survivors had more deficits in access to care than did their heterosexual female counterparts. Among those who faced such problems accessing care, sexual minority women had worse overall physical and mental quality of life. Additionally, sexual minority men who were cancer survivors were more likely to have poor mental quality of life than their heterosexual peers. Read more about cancer survivorship from LGBT HealthLink here.

 What We Know about Transgender Medicare Beneficiaries

A new study found that the number of transgender Medicare beneficiaries, as identified through insurance claims codes, increased from 2,088 individuals in 2010 to 10,242 individuals in 2016, a 390% increase. The biggest spikes were in 2015 and 2016, which coincided with a change in diagnostic codes that allowed more transgender beneficiaries to be identified.

NHTD CDCPreparing for HIV Testing Day

The CDC announced plans to recognize June 27th as National HIV Testing Day, which it says is an important part in ending the HIV epidemic. The CDC has guidelines for organizations that want to plan an event to participate in the day, and also has a searchable map where prospective participants can find a related event near them.


Please join LGBT HealthLink for a very important conversation: Addressing HIV in People of Color Communities: Tips and Tots for LGBTQ Community Centers. Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 12 noon – 1pm ET. Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3556076089623218179

Cyberbullying and Loss of Sleep, Depression

Researchers found that teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely than others to experience troubles sleeping, which in turn is associated with increased levels of depression. The results should be of concern to LGBTQ health advocates, given that other research has found higher levels of cyberbullying victimization among sexual and gender minority youth.

 World Health Organization Changes Trans Guidelines

Human Rights Watch reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) has now removed “gender identity disorder” as a mental illness from its guidelines, which has led (intentionally or not) to stigma and discrimination against the transgender population. Instead, “gender congruence” will now be listed underneath the section of the guidelines on sexual health.

How a Legal Defense Can Impact Victimization

Movement Advancement Project published a new map showing the status of laws relating to the “gay/trans panic defense,” which is a legal claim that an attack on an LGBTQ person was justified because the attacker panicked out of homophobic and/or transphobia. LGBTQ advocates say the allowance of such a defense exacerbates the level of hate crimes facing the community.