March Is #BiHealthMonth – #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.

It’s Bi Health Awareness Month BHAM 2019 Square-01

HRC and the Bisexual Resource Centered recognized March as Bisexual Health Awareness Month and shared why this year’s theme is “representation.” They note that while more people  come out as bisexual or pansexual and increase visibility, biphobia remains a huge problem and is compounded for those who also experience discrimination like racism and ableism.

Focus on Queer Fertility

Researchers explored the fertility experiences of lesbian women after intrauterine insemination and found many similarities in their outcomes compared to heterosexual women. Meanwhile, NBC News reported on the potential of freezing one’s eggs to add fertility options for transgender men, as the procedure has increased more than tenfold since 2009 among cisgender women.

Court Favors Equal Care

ThinkProgress reported that the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on coverage of gender-affirming surgery for those who receive Medicaid. While Medicaid is a partially federal program, it is administered by the states, who set many of their own coverage rules – often excluding transgender-related care. The court said the ban violated the state’s civil rights law.

Unpacking Plan to End HIV

A study analyzed the new plan by the U.S. government to end new HIV transmissions nationwide by 2030, which involves targeted 48 of the most highly-impacted counties in the country. The authors say the plan will have to improve both prevention and treatment for those already living with HIV, as well as address underlying factors (like racism) that drive disparities.

TransVetsFlagMental Health of Trans Veterans

A study examined the mental health of transgender veterans and found that experiencing discrimination was associated with suicidal ideation. Factors that mitigated this association included support from transgender friends and connection to LGBT and veteran communities. Researchers say more study is needed on how to address the health effects of discrimination.

Now Nonbinary Folks Face Blood Discrimination

NBC News reported on a gender nonbinary Californian who was turned away from giving blood. The would-be donor has an “X” on their state identification rather than a “male” or “female” marker, which put the individual at odds with the FDA’s guidance that donors give a binary gender at blood centers. The case mirrors the discrimination that queer men have routinely faced in giving blood for years.

Tackling “Bi Invisibility”

HRC shared the work of bisexual activists to end biphobia and bi invisibility, which they say contribute to disparities that bi people face from cancer risks to mental health issues. They also say that research has only recently begun to disaggregate bisexual folks from gays and lesbians, thus allowing us to learn more about their particular health needs. The article is part of HRC’s work to recognize March as Bisexual Health Month.

New Findings on Suicide and LGBT Adults

Researchers provided new insight into suicide among LGBT people, analyzing national data of which 621 victims were identified in reporting as LGBT. Among the findings were that gay and lesbian victims were more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have been diagnosed with a mental illness. NBC News reported on the importance of the study and the need for more research, including looking at the intersection of age.

If you or someone you know needs help, see resources like the Trevor Project or Trans Lifeline.

LGBT Youth and Substance Use YouthDrugs

A study found that LGB adolescents were more likely than their heterosexual peers to engage in various types of polysubstance use (that is, using more than one substance such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana). They also found that the disparities between heterosexual and queer students was even more pronounced among female youth than among male youth.

Out and Outside

Outside Magazine reported on a new organization getting queer people outside to hike, meet new people in a welcoming environment, and build community – not to mention receive the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor exercise. It’s even helping to create jobs for the guides, which the organization says are needed for given high LGBT unemployment and poverty rates.

Hormone Dose and BMI

Researchers explored starting doses of hormone therapy for patients with gender dysphoria, particularly as it relates to the patient’s body mass index (BMI). They found that higher BMI was associated with lower estrogen dose requirements for transgender women but higher testosterone doses in transgender men, and suggest that more study is needed to understand hormone therapy.

Conference to Address Ending HIV

The CDC shared more information about this year’s National HIV Prevention Conference, which will take place later this month with the theme, “Getting to No New HIV Infections.” A main focus of the conference will be the new federal plan to reduce new HIV infections by 90% over the next ten years, a challenging goal that they say is possible with methods including PrEP.


Keep in touch with LGBT HealthLink by joining our FREE membership. Have access to our library of tools and resources, all free. Join our members-only online networking groups, exclusive webinars just for members, and keep up to date with our Weekly #LGBTWellness Roundup. It’s quick and easy to join, and it’s all free!



DYK: Some LB Women Use Marijuana More Than Straight Women? #LGBTWellness

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.

LGBTPotQueer Women Face PTSD Challenges A new study found that sexual minority PTSD survivors were more likely to use cannabis products and had higher severity of PTSD than their heterosexual counterparts. LGBTQ Nation explored the implications of the study for the queer community.

Healthcare Professionals and Discrimination USA Today reported on a transgender nurse who won a case in Iowa after being denied access to the bathroom that matched his gender identity. Meanwhile, Forbes explored new research finding rampant discrimination against female doctors, with one study showing that 58% of female surgeons were sexually harassed in the last year alone.

Gender-neutral HPV Vaccines Would Work A Swedish study explored the cost effectiveness of making HPV vaccination programs gender-neutral. Programs in Sweden, like their U.S. counterparts, have targeted adolescent girls and left out m boys (including queer male adolescents, who face high risk). They found that vaccinating all youth would indeed prevent HPV-related cancer, save lives, and be cost-effective.

Psychiatry and Queer Women Experts published a history of mental health treatment for women in England, and found that such treatment was far less documented than treatment for men, which was centered around aversion therapy (for those who were not jailed for breaking laws against male same-sex relations). They found a mix of positive and negative treatment, which they say still today affects the perception of mental healthcare in the LGBT community.

How Laws Impact HIV, Health UNAIDS launched a new campaign to mark March 1st as “Zero Discrimination Day,” which acknowledges the way that discriminatory laws contribute to stigma and thus exacerbate the spread of HIV. This role of stigma and discrimination also helps explain why many marginalized groups, such as LGBT people and people of color, face higher risk of HIV transmission.

A Public Health Response to Hate HarvardVidHarvard School of Public Health produced an hour-long program on addressing the spread of hate and racism in particular as a public health crisis. In addition to examining the rise in hate crimes, they also looked at the role of the internet and the impact of the rapid spread of hateful messages as potentially impacting the mental health of millions.

Fighting Cancer with Communication Researchers found that among sexual minority women, the quality of patient-provider communication and trust in providers were positively associated with patient intention to receive cervical cancer screenings, and that these factors mediated the negative impact of perceived discrimination. This means improving patient-provider relationships could improve cancer screening outcomes for sexual minorities.

LGBTQ Youth Face Housing, Foster Care Issues Researchers in California found that 30.4% of youth living in foster care and 25.3% of unstably housed youth identify as LGBTQ, despite only comprising about 11.2% of the overall youth population. They also faced disparities such as poorer mental health and higher substance use for unstably housed LGBTQ youth, and more fights in school and more mental health problems for LGBTQ foster youth, when compared with non-LGBTQpeers.

Body Image Study Launches Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on a new worldwide study being driven by Grindr that will examine body image issues among queer men. Researchers say that there is reason to believe that gay and bisexual men are at risk for body issue problems, eating disorders, steroid use, and more, but that more study is needed – making this new initiative promising.

TransPhobiaTransphobia Needs Targeting in Medical Education A new study found that providers’ self-reported knowledge about transgender care was associated with whether or not they had transphobic attitudes, but not with the amount of formal or informal education they had received on the subject. The authors say that this means increased training is not enough, unless it addresses transphobia and implicit bias that providers may have.

States Take On Bullying The Sacramento Bee reported on proposed legislation in California that would fund school districts to have annual trainings designed to combat anti-LGBT bullying, which experts say contributes to mental health disparities. Meanwhile, the Providence Journal explored research and activism in Rhode Island on reducing bullying against transgender students in particular.

Women of Color and Mental Health WTOP and Johns Hopkins explored how women of color can take charge of their mental health, for which they say Black women are about half as likely to seek help as are White women. They share tips like getting good rest, exercising, and knowing one’s limits, as well as fighting back against stigma and finding competent help in a field lacking in racial dive


Mental Wellness: Just One Part of #LGBTWellness

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.

EvanRachelWoodBisexual Actor Talks Stigma, Mental Health

Nylon published an essay by actor Evan Rachel Wood in which she explores her history with sexual abuse, PTSD, suicidality, and seeking the mental health treatment that she needed. Wood, who has come out as bisexual and worked to advance queer rights, explores how stigma, quality, and cost of mental health care can prevent people from getting what they need.

If you or someone you know needs support, please review resources such as the Trevor Project or National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mental Health and the Trans Community

A new study examined the mental health needs of transgender and gender nonbinary patients at an urban health clinic. Patients who were assigned male at birth had lower odds of a psychiatric diagnosis than those who were assigned female at birth. They also found that higher odds of substance use disorders were associated with having started hormone treatment later in life.

Discrimination Connected to Unmet Care Needs

Researchers found that 23% of young transgender women participating in an NIH-funded study had unmet healthcare needs. Additionally, women who had experienced transgender-related healthcare discrimination faced 4.54 times the odds of not getting all the care they needed, and women who had avoided care due to its cost faced 1.98 times the odds of having unmet needs.

State Sued for Trans Discrimination

MetroWeekly reported on a lawsuit against the state of Arizona, which (like many states) discriminates against care for transgender individuals. A transgender state employee filed the class action suit after his healthcare plan denied him access to procedures like hysterectomies and mastectomies that are covered for cisgender people but denied when part of gender-affirming care.

Understanding Gonorrhea Gonorrhea

JAMA Internal Medicine published a helpful guide to gonorrhea, a sometimes overlooked sexually transmitted infection that they say all men who have sex with men should get tested for, as well as many other individuals. The article also notes the importance of patients feeling free to discuss their sexual history with their providers so that the provider can accurately assess risk.

Rare Breast Cancer Case Explored

A study examined a rare case of breast cancer in a transgender man receiving testosterone therapy, one of fewer than 20 such cases that have been reported in medical journals. The authors of the study say that more research is needed to understand if gender-affirming hormone therapy can increase risk for such cancers, as right now too little data exists.


Black History Month and #LGBTWellness

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.


In recognition of Black History Month and National Black HIV Awareness Day, this week’s roundup is focused on LGBT African Americans and the intersections between LGBT health, race, resilience, and racism.

Empowerment for Better Health

A new study explored using a strength-based approach to help young Black men who have sex with men improve their health versus using a risk-based approach, which researchers say can reinforce stereotypes and does not take into account the strong resilience of the community. Through 322 conversations, they explored the HealthMpowerment online, cell phone-optimized intervention, and looked at themes like building agency and peer-to-peer empowerment.

TogetherForLoveTogether for Love – and to End HIV

The CDC published a resource guide recognizing National Black HIV Awareness Day, with the theme of “Together for Love: Stop HIV Stigma.” Meanwhile, UNAIDS released a statement “welcoming” the surprise announcement that the U.S. president would seek to end new HIV transmissions by 2030. The UN noted that the epidemic has featured huge disparities in both Black and queer communities that will have to be addressed if this goal is to be achievable.

Impact of Police Violence

A recent study examined exposure to police violence in the U.S. and found that both people of color and LGBT people were more likely to experience such treatment, suggesting LGBT people of color might be at particularly high risk. They also found that physical violence with a weapon and sexual violence were both associated with higher odds of psychotic experiences, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation, highlighting why police violence is a public health crisis.

Celebrating Black Healthcare Professionals

JAMA published an essay by a physician who explains what it is like to be a Black doctor in a field in which people of color are so underrepresented – including what it can mean for Black patients to see a part of themselves in their providers. Meanwhile, Medical Bag reported on how racism impacts the healthcare profession, noting that Black students comprised only 6% of 2015. They explored how many healthcare facilities now have policies to help stem discrimination based on race (and sexual orientation and gender identity) against their staff.

PrEP Access Needed for Black Women BlackLesbianCouple

NPR reported on the need to share PrEP information and access with Black women, who could stand to benefit from using the HIV prevention treatment but who so far have not been targeted for intervention. While the HIV rate among White men has fallen 10% since 2011, the rate among Black women has not changed as they have gone overlooked in PrEP’s rollout.


Keep in touch with LGBT HealthLink by joining our FREE membership. Have access to our library of tools and resources, all free. Join our members-only online networking groups, exclusive webinars just for members, and keep up to date with our Weekly #LGBTWellness Roundup. It’s quick and easy to join, and it’s all free!


Trans Folx in New Hampshire to Benefit from New Bill – #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.

TransFlagNewHampsireTrans Representatives Push for Change

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported on efforts made by the state’s first transgender representatives to make it easier to change the gender marker on one’s birth certificate. New Hampshire currently requires a court order to make the change, which is against the recommendations that the American Medical Association has issued to state governments.

Providers Not Ready for Queer Cancer Care

A new study found that oncologists need help providing cancer care to LGBT patients. While many were confident with their knowledge of LGB (53%) and transgender (36.9%) cancer care before completing the survey, their confidence after doing so dropped to 38.9% for LGB patients and just 19.5% for transgender patients. One of the researchers stated that while LGBT cancer care is a largely ignored area, understanding providers’ knowledge gaps is an important first step.

Inclusive Bullying Laws May Protect All

Researchers found that youth in states that explicitly ban sexual orientation-based bullying in schools had lower risks of suicide attempts and forced sexual intercourse than students in states that did not ban such bullying. Interestingly, this applied to all students, not just those who identify as sexual minorities, meaning more may be needed to reduce disparities.

Gay Dads Face Stigma GayDads

A study examined the challenges facing fathers who identify as gay across 47 states and found that stigma remained a major concern, especially with respect to religious institutions. The study also found that gay fathers who lived in states with more legal protections for LGBT families (like favorable adoption and school bullying laws) faced less stigma and barriers in general.

What Ob/Gyns Need

Contemporary Ob/Gyn reported on how ob/gyns can make their practices more welcoming for sexual and gender minorities. They say that ob/gyns should learn more about LGBT identities, make their office visibly welcoming (such as including diverse posters and all-gender bathrooms), and incorporating questions about sexual orientation and gender identity into doctor-patient conversations.

Substance Use Risk High for Queer and Questioning

A new study found that adults who identify as LGB face higher odds of severe alcohol or tobacco use disorders than do heterosexual-identified individuals. Furthermore, those who said they are not sure of their orientation also had higher odds of severe alcohol and tobacco use disparities, plus faced higher odds of severe drug use disparities.

Improving Quality of Life for Trans Older Adults

A new study found that receiving gender-affirming care was associated with bigger gains in quality of life among older transgender adults than it was among younger transgender people. This counters the misperception that there is not much to gain from later-in-life medical transitions, and may be due to lower expectations or more optimistic outlooks among older transgender adults. Researchers say the results support gender-affirming care at any age.

LGBTHealthHow to Communicate LGBT Health

Researchers explored the difficulties in communicating health disparities to LGBT people, and found that LGBT community leaders had concerns that highlighting LGBT health differences (like higher rates of smoking or HIV risk) can be stigmatizing and may not work. Researchers recommend that LGBT health education use a cautious approach and be solution-oriented.

Preventive Health Research for Black Gay Men

Q Voice News reported on the work being done at California State University – Long Beach to address cancer disparities among gay Black men. The university received a $1.1 million state grant and is examining how to intervene before gay Black men in their teens and early 20s start regular use of tobacco, e-cigarettes, or marijuana so they can help them stay healthy.

Support Needed for California’s LGB Students

A new report found troubling news for LGB students in California, 61% of whom had reported 2-plus weeks of continuous sadness that caused them to stop doing regular activities (more than twice the rate of their heterosexual peers). LGB students were also more than twice as likely as heterosexual students to have used alcohol or drugs within the past 30 days. Less than one third of school staff said there were enough services and collaborations to counter these risks.


Taking On Tobacco (in Heels)

Have you played This Free Life’s new online videogame, Toxic City? Players get to select a famous drag queen and face off against one of the LGBT community’s biggest and most persistent opponents: tobacco. Along the way, players may learn a fact or two, like how smoking can damage teeth and cause discoloring. The project is aimed at LGBT young adults.


Special Edition #LGBTWellness – New Year, New Focus on LGBT Health

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.

The first month of 2019 is now behind us. How are your personal New Year’s resolutions coming along? Do you need support on making them happen? And are you wondering what progress will be made on LGBT health in the new year? In this week’s roundup, we take a closer look at the work that LGBT Healthlink, CenterLink, and LGBT centers around the country are doing to support individual and community health.

All of Us Can Improve LGBT Health! All of Us Chicago_0013.jpgCenterLink announced its participation in the All of Us research program, a historic effort to gather data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health. Given the dearth of health information on LGBT people, HealthLink will use its network (and Twitter chats) to help share All of Us’s community resources and build an LGBT-inclusive national movement.

Center Expands Health, Housing Network

GayRVA reported on how the LGBT Life Center of Norfolk is expanding its health services for the LGBT community, soon to open its third health clinic in the region. Like many of CenterLink’s member centers, the Life Center has expanded far beyond just providing HIV services to providing an array of health and wellness programs. They include transgender-specific services and even help with housing, a key component of health.

New Paper Delves Into Data

LGBT HealthLink published a white paper on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection, and why more (and more consistent) collection is critical to improve health outcomes in the LGBT community. The paper examines best practices and explores how to formulate questions, as well as disproves common misconceptions (such as that patients will refuse to answer questions, or that SOGI data is not relevant for improving LGBT care). The paper is one of many resources available for anyone in HealthLink’s free membership program.

lgbteldersSupporting LGBT Older Adults

ABC News reported on a $500,000 grant received by a Michigan health center to expand services for LGBT older adults, an oft-overlooked and growing part of the LGBT community. In addition to providing integrated services to this population, they will also focus on provider training and networking, sharing of best practices, and increasing dialogue on this group’s needs.

Transgender Students Face Risks

In other news, the CDC published an important study on the health disparities facing transgender students in high schools across 19 jurisdictions. They found that transgender students were significantly more likely than their cisgender peers to experience victimization, use substances, and face suicide risk. A bit of positive news was that transgender students were also more likely than others to have been tested for HIV.

Trans Adults Get Screened Less transcanadianflag

Researchers found that transgender adults in Toronto were less likely than their cisgender peers to be screened for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer. For example, only 33% of the transgender patients who were studied and eligible for breast cancer screening had done it compared to 65% of their cisgender peers. Such data in the U.S. is limited (but we’re working on it!)

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 

The CDC marked January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and shared information on receiving Pap tests, HPV vaccines, and HPV tests to make sure that folks who have cervixes (including many transgender and nonbinary folks) stay cancer-free. If you are looking for LGBT-specific cancer facts, check out LGBT HealthLink’s fact sheet library here.



SOGI Is Good for Everyone! Check Out 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.

SOGI Data Looks Good on Paper sogi

Researchers studied different approaches to collecting sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data in emergency rooms and found that LGBT patients had significantly better experiences when the SOGI data was collected on paper and not in a face-to-face interview. Interestingly, non-LGBT patients had equally good outcomes with either method.

“X” Marks an Inclusive New York

Gothamist reported that New York City officially became the latest place to offer a nonbinary gender marker on birth certificates, meaning that people who are intersex or gender nonconforming can get an “X” marker instead of an “M” or “F. The city’s Health Department also made it easier for transgender people to switch from male to female, or vice versa.

One-stop Shopping for Health

A recent Canadian study of mostly sexual minorities at STI clinics found that 39% had also needed mental health or substance abuse services, and now researchers are calling on STI clinics to consider offering such services in-house. They say that many patients wanted mental health help but did not know where to go, and that STI clinics were already known and trusted.

2018The Queer Year in Review

Windy Times reviewed the top LGBT news stories of 2018, some of which addressed health risks such as the ongoing violence faced by transgender people of color and the impact of sexual assault in the LGBT community. Others were more positive, like news that children with two mothers grow up just fine, and that for the first time a transgender woman reported being able to breastfeed thanks to hormone treatment.

Trans Health and Social Media

A study explored the role of social media in transgender health, given that many transgender individuals turn to such sources when their healthcare providers do not have answers (or the patient is afraid to ask). The study looks at how healthcare professionals can use social media to reach transgender patients, and how research and practice can be informed by these interactions.

Playing Games with Your Health

Instinct Magazine reported on an ongoing project (funded by the federal government during the Obama administration) to develop a virtual reality simulation that helps queer men communicate more openly about HIV and other STIs. Initial studies of the “game” have been promising and the work is expected to continue into next year.

Social Networks and Health

A new study found that the dense social networks of Black men who have sex with men help explain the higher rates of HIV that this community faces. Researchers explained that young Black men get tested more and engage in fewer risk behaviors than their White and Latinx peers, but that denser networks means the risk of HIV spreading is higher. They also suggested that these social networks can be part of the solution, if leveraged to spread prevention information.

Health of Our Movement 2018 map rainbow

MAP released its annual report on the state of LGBT organizations, and found the the combined revenue of the 40 nonprofits that participated trended up in 2017 in comparison to past years. Small donations made up the majority of all donations, although only 2.8% of LGBT people gave to these organizations. Staff were more diverse than board members in many respects.

Top Concerns in Trans Health

Researchers examined the top health priorities of transgender people in the South, and found that the top three were insurance coverage of transgender-affirming case, availability of this care, and having competent providers who were educated about transgender people and their needs. Other concerns included physical health, suicide prevention, and homelessness.

$1.5 Million to Train Docs

The Harvard Gazette reported on progress that university’s medical school is making towards amending its curriculum to be LGBT-inclusive. The three-year initiative began this fall thanks to a $1.5 million gift from a donor, with the goal that Harvard’s medical students can spread their knowledge (and the importance of inclusive curricula) wherever they go in their medical careers.

Cases Threaten LGBT Care

NBC News reported on a case challenging the inclusion of gender identity discrimination in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination. A ruling against the rule would make healthcare discrimination against transgender people legal.  LGBT health advocates are also concerned about a ruling (being appealed) that found the entire ACA unconstitutional.


Cancer Prevention Year in Review

The CDC released a 2018 “year in review” of cancer prevention resources that were published over the course of the year, including a virtual coach who can help folks understand breast cancer risk, a video to determine if one should get tested for prostate cancer, and a podcast series about taking control over your own health.


LGB Youth Facing Higher Suicide Rates 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.

Pooling the Data on Suicide Risk

Researchers reviewed the risk of suicide attempts among youth in 35 studies, which together included a total of 2.3 million heterosexual and 113,000 sexual minority youth. They found that gay and lesbian youth faced an average of 3.5 times the risk of suicide attempt compared to heterosexual youth, and that bisexual youth faced 4.87 times the risk of heterosexual peers.

If you or an LGBTQ youth you know is in crisis, contact the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.


Queer Youth at Risk from Age 10

A major new UK study found that sexual minority youth had higher rates of depressive symptoms than did their heterosexual peers from the age of just 10. They also found that sexual minority adolescents faced 4.53 times the odds of engaging in self-harm than did heterosexual youth by age 21. Researchers pointed to potential solutions such as more role models for LGB youth, deconstructing gender norms in schools, and more culturally-competent healthcare.

Spotlight on Trans Care

The USA Today reported on the challenges that transgender people experience in receiving healthcare related to their gender identity, even when the treatment would otherwise be covered. They describe the years that some patients spend fighting for approval of care or reimbursement, and the work that trans-specific health clinics are doing to provide life-saving care.

Exploring PrEP in Prisons

Researchers examined the knowledge of and interest in PrEP (the HIV prevention treatment) among incarcerated men who are gay, bisexual, or otherwise have sex with men. While the men had low initial knowledge of PrEP, they were very interested when they learned more, including in beginning treatment prior to release (when they expected more barriers, like cost and stigma).

RainbowHospitalBedNondiscrimination in Healthcare

A study examined the perception of nondiscrimination laws among healthcare workers, whose facilities are subject to such laws when they include places of “public accommodation.” Their two main concerns were their lack of preparedness to address incidents of bias and their fear of other patients’ reactions to transgender women being in sex-segregated spaces for women.

Gender-affirming Hormones & Surgery

Researchers reviewed the practice in which transgender individuals are routinely told that they need to stop taking hormones before undergoing various types of surgery due to presumed risks that hormones can pose. The study found that the evidence does not support discontinuing all hormone use before surgery, and that more nuanced consideration (and research) is needed.

Creating More Competent Healthcare Teams

The Fenway Institute and Harvard Medical School announced a three-day course for “care teams” – including providers, nurses, and other healthcare staff – to learn together how to improve their care of LGBT patients. Participants will learn about mental health needs, HIV and STI prevention and treatment, the importance of collecting data on LGBT patients, and more.

Queer Men Lack Knowledge on HPV

A study examined the attitudes of queer men living with HIV in Toronto and found that most had not heard of the HPV vaccine, and were unaware of the cancer-related dangers that HPV entails, especially for people living with HIV. Many expressed the commonly-held belief that HPV is mostly a danger to young women and did not know that queer men are also at high risk.

Destigmatizing Trans GenderDysphoria

The New York Times published an op-ed arguing that gender dysphoria should be removed from the list of mental health disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, just as the APA did with homosexuality decades ago. The World Health Organization has already changed their own classification of gender dysphoria, noting the importance of doing so to help erase stigma.

Provider Comfort with Transgender Patients

A study found that 86% of primary care doctors were willing to care for transgender patients. Slightly less – 79% – said they would screen for cervical cancer in transgender men using a Pap test. One of the study’s authors said that provider comfort with transgender patients needs to be taught in medical education, in addition to just technical knowledge on transgender health.

Good News, Bad News on Gonorrhea

NBC News reported that while gonorrhea appears to be increasingly resistant to antibiotics, a new treatment is 96% effective at targeting these hard-to-defeat strands. They also note that gonorrhea is especially prevalent among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and also that 50% of all infections occur among youth aged 15-24.


Preparing for an Aging Population

Windy City Times reported on an exciting new resource published by experts from Howard Brown Health, an LGBT-centered clinic in Chicago. It’s a comprehensive book on aging among transgender and gender-nonconforming adults, a key topic as the LGBT community ages. The book explores everything from mental health to social services to long-term care.


Know Your Status – #LGBTWellness News on 30th Annual World AIDS Day

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.


In recognition of December 1 as the 30th annual World AIDS Day, we bring you a special edition of the Roundup focused on HIV. You can learn more about Worlds AIDS Day and this year’s campaign, “Rock the Ribbon,” at the event’s official website.


What You Can Do

CNN reported on World AIDS Day with five things that individuals can do to help make a difference on ending the HIV epidemic. Their ideas: know your status so you can get treatment if necessary; combat the stigma that persists against people living with HIV; educate yourself about prevention and then help educate others; and be an ally, or even donate to a good cause.

36.9 Million Living with HIV

UNAIDS published a new fact sheet in honor of World AIDS Day with the latest figures on the epidemic. They report that as of 2017, there were 36.9 million people living with HIV, 9.4 million of whom did not know their status. While treatment options for HIV have improved markedly for those who can afford them, there were still a shocking 940,000 AIDS-related deaths last year, highlighting the inequity of the epidemic worldwide.

Substance Use and PrEP

A study found that queer men who use substances were equally likely as men who do not use substances to stay adherent to PrEP, the HIV prevention treatment. The study rebuts the notion that people who use substances might not be able to adhere to PrEP, which needs to be taken daily to have its maximum prevention effect.

 140 Characters to Fight HIV RedTweet

Researchers analyzed tweets posted on Twitter regarding World AIDS Day in 2014 and 2015, and found many key themes around HIV as a human rights issue and the need to end the epidemic, though some decreased from 2014 to 2015. The authors conclude that Twitter is a cost-effective way of spreading knowledge and building hope that the epidemic can really end.

Relationship Between HIV and Race

The Root published an op-ed on the staggering racial disparities that mark the HIV epidemic in America, in which nearly half of new diagnoses are among Black men (47% from 2011-2015). The author argues that the stigma around HIV exacerbates the situation, and calls on readers to help reduce stigma, get tested, and have honest conversations with partners.

MosaicPrEP’s Potential Grows

Mosaic explored the effect that PrEP is having on HIV prevention and control, including weighing the claim that PrEP is actually harming sexual health by enabling riskier sexual behavior. The author contends that the scientific evidence is increasingly supporting PrEP, and points to factors like increased connection to the health system (and the STI testing that comes with getting PrEP prescribed) may be providing benefits beyond just what the pill itself offers.

While studies have found that Black sexual minority men are over four times as likely as White sexual minority men to be well-suited to take PrEP, and that PrEP is a more effective public health intervention among Black sexual minorities than White sexual minorities, Black men comprise a minority of those who are signing up for PrEP and most are not even aware of the option.


Could Our Healthcare Orgs Do Better? #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.

Competent? Says Who? Researchers explored the cultural competence of healthcare organizations through the lens of 3,500 healthcare employees, instructors, trainees, and students. LGBT personnel were less likely than their non-LGBT colleagues to say that their organization was “above average” on cultural competence, and the same trend was true for Black versus White professionals and for women versus men.

Three in Four Know Status UNAIDS published a report finding that 75% of people living USAIDSwith HIV globally were aware of their status as of 2017, marking an improvement from just two years before, when that number was 67%. While the number of people who are virally suppressed has also risen to 47%, that still leaves 19.4 million people living with HIV who do not have a suppressed viral load.

Bisexual Adults at Risk for Opioids A new study found that bisexual adults faced 1.66 times the risk of misusing prescription opioids within the past month compared with heterosexual adults. The researchers said in a statement that bisexual women were at particularly high risk and recommended that providers, educators, and families consider sexual orientation when assessing risk of misuse and need of support.

Prospective Parents Lack Protections Center for American Progress published a report finding that many privately operated foster and adoption agencies (particularly faith-based) do not have an LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy for prospective parents. They also note that there is a significant shortage of such parents, as 20,000 youth age out of the foster care system each year having never found a permanent home.

Healthcare Beyond the Binary A study explored the stigma and victimization that nonbinary people can face in getting access to care, and what healthcare professionals can do to help. Through a case study, the article explores how to correctly use nonbinary pronouns (like they / them / theirs), navigate insurance issues when preferred names and gender markers do not match official records, and other issues.

RainbowMAMarriage’s 15th Anniversary NBC News reported on the 15th anniversary of the court case that allowed for marriage equality in Massachusetts, which in 2003 became the first state to do so. The lead couple in that historic case cited being denied hospital visitation rights as one of their motivating factors to get wed. Meanwhile, migrant couples in Mexico celebrated a joint marriage ceremony that they said would have been too dangerous in their home countries due to social stigma and violence.