3 Days in Alaska – A Whole Lot of Warm

Anchorage Mon AM

For three days in October, LGBT HealthLink’s Community Advisory Council (CAC) held our annual in-person meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.  This meet up was the perfect opportunity for these hard-working, volunteer innovators to learn more about LGBT HealthLink, LGBT health disparities, and the incredible work being done in Alaska and other states to reduce those disparities.

The CAC is an active, multi-sector committee of LGBT HealthLink, a program of IMG_4787 CenterLink, with demonstrated success implementing culturally appropriate LGBT policy, system and environmental change strategies. The CAC members promote the use of science-based, culturally competent strategies for addressing tobacco-related and cancer health disparities experienced by the LGBT community.  LGBT HealthLink’s CAC serves as one method of communication and feedback between LGBT HealthLink and LGBT communities nationally.  The CAC members provide LGBT HealthLink the opportunity to hear directly from stakeholders on the impact of the program’s work in addressing LGBT health disparities.

20171024_095841_1508867994544Our diverse CAC members live in different geographic locations around the country and getting together at least once a year for a face-to-face interaction is a bonus.  At the meeting, LGBT HealthLink’s Program Director, Dr. Regina R. Washington, discussed LGBT HealthLink’s program strategies, critical activities, and key workplan deliverables for 2017-2018.  Also, CAC initiated the development of the framework for LGBT HealthLink’s E-Summit anticipated in May 2018 through the facilitation of CAC’s co-chairs, Shor Salkas and Adrian Shanker. We also had the opportunity to talk with key program leads from the Alaska Department of Health in tobacco and cancer programs. Additional guest speakers included Dr. Ray Troche who spoke of BRFSS data collection for lesbian, bi-sexual, and gay individuals and tobacco use in Alaska, and Dr. Gary Ferguson, the CEO of RurAL CAP, who spoke on the intersectionality of LGBT and Alaska Native health.

Much was accomplished during the long Alaska days and nights. Workgroups were imagejpeg_zformed to focus on advancing LGBT health equity in the areas of tobacco use and cancer prevention and control.  More topics identified and adopted into the workplan included increasing sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection at the national, state, and local levels, and addressing LGBT rural and people of color health issues.  Time was carved out to IMG_4799meet with Identity Alaska, a community-based organization advancing Alaska’s LGBT community through advocacy, education and connectivity.  During some discussions, it was agreed that healthcare systems have an opportunity to collaborate with LGBT community centers to advance efforts to improve LGBT health.


One of the major goals of the meeting was to strategize and begin planning our annual E-Summit.  The E-Summit offers many webinars and panel discussions over a period of 3 days. E-Summit features presenters who work in the areas of public health, community-based organizations, and health care systems to share evidence-based approaches to addressing LGBT health disparities, advances and insights into best and promising practices for LGBT health, patient navigation, cancer screening, the tobacco quitline, and much, much more. Stay in touch with LGBT HealthLink to get more information on dates and session topics, www.lgbthealthlink.org.

Of course, the best part of this annual CAC meeting is the personal bonds formed and shared experiences. Below are a few reflections from this year’s meeting some of our members posted on Facebook.


Adrian Shanker

As I’m sitting in the airport awaiting my midnight flight home from Anchorage, I’m reflecting on the power and magic of the last week. My reason for being here was to co-chair the LGBT Healthlink Annual in-person Meeting – Our meetings with leaders at Alaska Department of Health and Identity (LGBT Center in Anchorage), as well as hearing from a Alaska Native health leader about intersectional health challenges for LGBT, Alaska Native, and rural communities, gave power to our strategic work to plan for LGBT Healthlink’s final CDC grant year. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to A and Aspend the rest of the week exploring interior Alaska with friend and colleague, Anthony. It’s hard to quantify the most magical moments: looking up to see a bald eagle perched on top of a tree, witnessing Alaska’s fierce sunrises, relaxing in the Chena hot springs, learning about the cultural significance of dog mushing and meeting some retired Iditerod racing dogs, touring a geothermal power plant, staying up half the night to see Lightsthe Aurora, experiencing Alaskan art and history at the Museum of the North, visiting with moose, elk, and reindeer… This was truly an unforgettable week. It was also a week with its challenges. I drove more than 1200 miles this week. Vegetarian food wasn’t easy here, and Alaska’s hunting/trapping culture (complete with dead animals on display all.over.the.place.) caused me to consider my discomfort with a lens of cultural humility. Driving through Snowy treesDenali State Park in a blizzard was dangerous even in my rented Durango. And I made a decision to not wear my Kipah in interior Alaska because I didn’t feel comfortable wearing it with the socio-political milieu in the region. As I return to Pennsylvania, I am feeling a gentle mix of gratitude, exhaustion, and adrenaline. Alaska, it’s been real and I’ll be back!

Anthony and dog

Anthony Howard Crisci

Full day of discussing best practices for community based organizations when working with state health departments to improve the health of the LGBT community! #lgbthealthlink #tobaccofreequeers

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Earl Nupsius Benjamin-Robinson

Over the past few days I have had the distinct pleasure of convening with trans, gender-fluid, two-spirit, same-gender loving, bisexual, lesbian, gay, cis gender persons that are community leaders, public health experts, program directors, marketing experts, practitioners, professors, and research scientists. We convened to discuss, brainstorm, and develop equitable strategies to combat cancer and tobacco disparities effecting sexual and gender minorities. My take-aways from the HealthLink advisory board meeting are 1) I am my sisters and brothers’ keeper, 2) What I’ve overcome will not be undone, and 3) I AM!

Gil Kristen Shor Larry

Kristen Emory

Alaska 💗

We were so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to share this day together. Thank you, Larry, Kairaiuak Apacuar for everything! Today ended in the most wonderful way possible, and we will never forget it.


Shor A Salkas

Feeling so grateful to Kairaiuak Apacuar for helping LGBT HealthLink host an incredible Community Advisory Council meeting and time for community building in Alaska this week. There is nothing more special than a person inviting you to their home and whole-heartedly sharing their culture with you. We learned so much about tobacco and cancer work in Alaska, and about the intersectionality of indigenous and native health and LGBTQ health.

This is how we build community, understanding, and lay strong foundations for health equity and social justice in our intersectional work.

thank you thank you thank you to a beautiful community

#LGBThealth #NativeHealth #intersections #LGBTHealthLink #socialjustice#healthjustice #communityishealing


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Focus On #MyRightToHealth in This Week’s #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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Preparing for World AIDS Day

UNAIDS launched a new campaign on the human right to health ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1. The campaign focuses on connecting the right to “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” which has been part of international law for 50 years, to the needs of people living with HIV today. The campaign includes action items for readers to get involved.

New Study Confirms Queer Smoking Disparity Smoking Infographic-rev03-2016-printer

A major study found that LGB adults smoked at a 38.8% higher rate than heterosexuals adults, with 27.8% – more than one in four – reporting that they are current smokers, compared to 20.1% of heterosexual adults. The authors believe that the stigma and discrimination faced by queer adults, plus intentional targeting by the tobacco industry, help explain these high rates.

Marking Transgender Awareness Month

Fenway Health marked Transgender Awareness Month with an infographic showcasing sobering facts about trans health. It notes that one in three transgender people have delayed needed care out of fear of mistreatment and that one in five transgender people has been outright denied care by a healthcare provider. The graphic also explores topics like economic disparities and violence.

Prostate Cancer and Gay Men

U.S. News published an article exploring how prostate cancer affects gay men, a disease that experts and patients say can present different challenges to queer people even though the diagnosis itself is the same. The article also notes that cancer surveys often omit asking sexual orientation and that there is a dearth of resources specifically for queer cancer survivors.

HIV RiskLinks Between Financial Status and HIV Risk

A study examined the relationship between facing financial hardship and engaging in higher-risk sexual practices among queer men. It found that high levels of sexual hardship were associated with 1.28 times the risk of engaging in condomless intercourse and 2.36 times the risk of engaging in transactional sex, both of which are risk factors for contracting HIV.

Barriers to Gender-Affirming Care

Researchers surveyed 364 transgender adults in Massachusetts and found that 23.6% were unable to access gender-affirming care within the past year. Factors associated with having difficulty included having lower income and education levels, being younger, and having private insurance (suggesting state insurers like Medicaid were better than the private market).

Huge Cancer Disparity Linked to HIV

Researchers studied the cases of almost half a million people living with HIV in the U.S., and found that their anal cancer incidence rate was much higher than that of the general population. Queer men had even higher rates than others living with HIV, and those who had been diagnosed with AIDS rather than only HIV had a fourfold increase in anal cancer incidence.

Remembering Victims of Violence

NBC News reported on events happening around the world to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20. The founder of the occasion – which began after violence in Boston in 1999 – stressed the ongoing importance of naming violence against transgender people, which remains on the rise and disproportionately affects transgender women of color.

Journal Explores Queer Families

The Journal of Homosexuality published a special issue on LGBT families, noting in its introduction the need for “a useful framework” to explore topics like parenting and family units in the community. Articles include an examination of adult children of same-sex male parents, and a study on how microaggressions often question the validity of queer families.

Hep A Outbreak Grows in California  Hep A

The Los Angeles Times reported on a disturbing outbreak of Hepatitis A than began in San Diego, mostly among that city’s homeless population, and has now spread to many queer men in Los Angeles. Queer men are generally at higher risk for Hepatitis A (and homelessness), and with 14 cases already reported outside of Southern California, the outbreak could yet spread.

Impact of Heterosexism on People of Color

A study examined the role of socioeconomic status in how heterosexism impacted queer people of color. Interestingly, the results suggested that those with higher socioeconomic statuses were more likely to have a negative mental health impact from heterosexism, suggesting they may need assistance in dealing with discrimination’s impact on their mental health.

GASO 2017

The Smokeout Turns 40 

The National Behavioral Health Network reported on the 40th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout, and highlighted the ways in which smoking disproportionately impacts people with mental illnesses and substance use issues – both of which disproportionately impact LGBT people. This may help to explain why LGBT folks smokeat about a 50% higher rate than others.


Now There’s An HIV Prevention App Specifically For Trans Women

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

AppHIV Prevention App for Trans Women

MobiHealthNews reported on the development of an HIV prevention app specifically for transgender women, in a project happening in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health. The developers say they are seeking to fill a gap in which most prevention services are not tailored to transgender individuals, despite the high rate of HIV the community faces.

Queer Group Carries Critical Message

The Washington Blade reported on the efforts of Out2Enroll, an education initiative founded by a coalition of nonprofits to encourage queer folks to sign up for healthcare plans. The Blade notes that Obamacare has led to a 35% drop in the number of LGBT people who are uninsured, but that this year, its healthcare marketplace is only open for enrollment until December 15.

Support for Breast Cancer Survivors

Researchers examined the experiences of sexual and gender minorities who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and found “a dearth of appropriate social supports,” including providers who to whom they felt comfortable disclosing their identities and support groups that were LGBT-inclusive or specific. The researchers recommend more competency training, support, and study.

Discrimination (Not Queer Parents) Hurts Kids Kids

A review of scientific research concluded that children of same-sex parents do not fare worse than other children on the basis of their parents’ sexual orientation. However, the discrimination that these children and their parents face can have a negative impact on family wellbeing. Researchers recommend the medical community help end stigma by speaking out on the real facts.

Call to Action on Trans Folks and HPV

Researchers published a review of the HPV risks faced by transgender individuals, and argued for better research on the burden of HPV in trans communities and the barriers that trans people face in getting care. They say that more research is needed for comprehensive recommendations on HPV vaccination, as well as screening and preventing HPV-related cancer.

GenerationsInclusive Leave for Families of Choice

The Center for American Progress reported on the need for paid leave policies to include families of choice. 42% of LGBT people have taken time off to care for someone other than a “traditional” family member, higher than the 31% of non-LGBT individuals who have done so. Many of these individuals went without pay to provide that care, which researchers say should change.


#LGBTWellness Roundup Asks: How Does Your State Rank In Trans Equality?

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Trans map

Trans Equality, State by State

The National Center for Transgender Equality expanded its library of state-by-state reports following the release of the national U.S. Transgender Survey last year. The reports are especially useful as states consider moves to advance transgender health equity – for example, New Hampshire, which just ended its ban on gender-affirming care for those on Medicaid.

Trans Senator Highlights Health Inequities

Reuters reported on the election of a transgender senator in Uruguay, a nation of 3.5 million people in which violence against transgender people is common. The newly-minted senator spoke eloquently about the compounded inequities faced by transgender people, and how factors like limited employment options and sexism work together to deprive them of good health.

All Students Are Safer in Inclusive Schools

A study of Minnesota schools found that programs to protect LGBT students – like discussions on bullying, gay-straight alliances, and having an LGBT staff liaison – actually made schools safer for all students, not just those who are LGBT. These schools reported lower levels of bullying and harassment, which can mean better health and educational outcomes.

Panel Explores Domestic Violence It happens

The Daily Free Press reported on a panel hosted by Fenway Health on domestic violence in the LGBT community. Panelists discussed research showing that transgender people are frequently denied care after domestic violence because of their gender identity, as well as stats showing that LGBT people of color are more likely that other queer folks to face domestic violence.

What PrEP Users Say about Stigma

Researchers interviewed 38 queer men who use PrEP, the HIV prevention treatment, and found that experiencing stigma from both providers and other queer men was a fairly common experience. The men also said that accessing PrEP required them to have a high degree of “health literacy” and advocacy skills, suggesting that education is needed to increase uptake.

Improving Clinical Care for Older Adults

A journal of the American Medical Association published an article on how providers can improve care for LGBT older adults, including the use of inclusive language, understanding the inequalities that queer folks face, and learning the healthcare needs of transgender people. It also pointed out that LGBT people may have different support structures and caregiver support.HL Mem

LGBT HealthLink provides trainings and technical assistance to public health officials, health systems and providers, and community-based organizations. To learn more and access LGBT HealthLink resources and educational materials, join our free membership!


#LGBTWellness: New Study On HPV Has Bad News For Queer Folks

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Bad News for Queer Folks Re: HPV

A national study found that both men and women who had same-sex partners were at increased risk for oral HPV infection, especially those with a higher number of lifetime and recent same-sex partners. Smoking was also associated with higher HPV risk, and LGBT folks smoke more than others. Researchers say the study suggests increased cancer risk for the LGBT community.

FDA Hacks E-Cigs in Historic First RealCost

The FDA launched a new adverting campaign against e-cigarettes, the first such expansion of its popular The Real Cost campaign. The FDA had announced back in August that it would soon begin this expansion, in recognition of the growing dangers that e-cigs have been found to pose. The ads may pose a big benefit to queer youth, a stunning half of whom have tried “vaping.”

How Inequalities Impact Breast Cancer

Fenway Health released a new infographic for Breast Cancer Awareness Month that explains barriers queer and transgender folks face in accessing screening and treatment, including discriminatory attitudes, denial of care, and fear of opening up to providers. The infographic also shows that women of color live several years less on average than white women after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Black menHIV Prevention Disparities for Bi Black Men

A study of Black men who have sex with men in Atlanta found that those who were bisexual and not publicly “out” were 55% less likely to report being tested at least every six months for HIV compared to out, gay men. The bisexual men studied were also 59% less likely than their out, gay peers to know about PrEP, the HIV prevention treatment, suggesting targeted outreach is needed.

Kids’ Wellbeing on the Line?

Movement Advancement Project published a report and video delving into the dangers posed to children when state agencies designed to protect them, like those that manage foster care and adoption, permit discrimination against LGBT or LGBT-friendly parents. The Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Social Workers joined in publishing the report.

UK to Collect Better LGB Data Rainbow UK

The BBC reported that UK health facilities will begin to collect data on whether patients identify as LGB, a move heralded by queer advocates as one that will provide greater data on LGB health needs. While some doctors protested by claiming that most conditions do not vary by sexual orientation, countless studies have shown widespread LGBT health disparities.

CA Passes Protections for Seniors

McKnight’s reported that California passed an LGBT Seniors Bill of Rights, which (among other things) will ban discrimination based on LGBT identity or HIV status in long-term care facilities throughout the nation’s most populous state. Facilities will be required to post new anti-discrimination notices, which will hopefully combat hostile cultures and inform residents.


Ban on Tobacco Samples Detailed

The FDA released new guidance on the federal ban on free samples of tobacco products. The FDA justified the policy in part because of the predatory practices used to lure youth into using tobacco products by first giving out free samples. The policy has the potential to improve queer health, given the significant tobacco disparities LGBT people generallyand youth especially face.

Incarceration and Queer Mental Health

Teen Vogue reported on the impact that incarceration – which disproportionately affects LGBT people, especially those of color – has on the mental health of queer youth. They cite data that up to 20% of incarcerated young people are LGBT, and that queer people in prisons are at higher risk for sexual assault and other forms of violence, as well as mental health issues.

Disbelief in Discrimination Proven Dangerous

A study at a U.S. college found that heterosexual individuals who did not believe that LGB people still face societal discrimination were less likely to perceive a situation in which another person was called a gay slur as being dangerous or serious. They were also felt less responsible to intervene to stop the bullying, and were more likely to engage in victim-blaming.

Trans Teen Discusses Insurance Struggle

The ACLU published the story of a transgender teenager who is suing his insurer, PeaceHealth, for refusing to cover medically-necessary care because it is gender-affirming. The author discusses his journey in accepting and understanding his identity, and his family’s inability to pay $10,000 out-of-pocket for the care he needs. The ACLU is leading the discrimination suit.

Advocates Call for Inclusive History

US News reported on a push by activists to have history curriculums be inclusive of LGBT history, including the struggles and successes the community has seen in recent decades. They cited research showing that LGBT students are more likely to feel ostracized and face mental health challenges, and that inclusive curricula can help them feel supported and included.


This Week in #LGBTWellness News: Exploring Breast Cancer In Transgender Communities

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Trans RibbonExploring Breast Cancer in Trans* Communities

The Wisconsin State Journal explored the story of a transgender man who, after undergoing gender-affirming medical care including removal of his breasts, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to navigate an illness normally associated with women. Meanwhile, Allure explored reasons why transgender and gender-nonconforming people may be at elevated risk for breast cancer.

Queer and #HereToStay

A new study examined the intersectional identities of 31 undocuqueer (queer and undocumented) people from around the country. Researchers found that because these individuals were not “easily located within normalized acceptable identities and categories,” they created their own spaces and self-definitions. Some described how the DREAMer identity led them to activism.

CDC Makes HIV History

Plus Magazine reported that the CDC has announced that people living with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load are not at risk of transmitting HIV to others, confirming what many activists and researchers have long been saying. Many hailed the announcement as confirmation that the “treatment as prevention” strategy is reducing the impact of the HIV epidemic.

Cancer Diagnoses and Disparities in England

Researchers studied two national surveys in England to see if LGB people have different rates of site-specific cancer diagnoses compared to heterosexual individuals. The findings revealed several disparities in diagnoses, such as anal and penile cancer in queer men and oropharyngeal cancer in women. Many of the disparately-diagnosed cancers were associated with HIV or HPV.

Trans Youth at Risk for Tobacco, Alcohol Use

A study of transgender youth in California found that, even when adjusting for other risk factors, transgender youth were 45% more likely to have used alcohol, 73% more likely to have used marijuana, and 96% more likely to have used cigarettes. The study also looked at themes like victimization and depressive symptoms among the population.

Delivering PrEP to Latinx Communities

A study explored how to improve access to PrEP (the HIV prevention treatment) based on interviews with queer Latino men in San Antonio, Texas. Key factors included reducing stigmatization, improving access to knowledgeable providers, and implementing patient-centered interventions to facilitate adherence. Peer educators were suggested as a means of reducing barriers.

Insurer Sued for Trans Health Ban

Teen Vogue reported that a transgender teen in Washington state is suing the health insurance she gets through her mother’s job, PeaceHealth, for discrimination. The insurer has a blanket ban on providing any transgender-related care, which the ACLU (which is representing the teen) says is not a real medical category and is only being used to discriminate against transgender people.

A Call to Counter Bullying Rainbow bullying

Participants from a national symposium on LGBTQ bullying published a paper that issued recommendations to pediatricians, including calling for pediatricians to create more open and inclusive healthcare settings and to counter the negative health effects of bullying with care. The authors say pediatricians could be key in preventing bullying from leading to distress and even suicide.

What Trans Employees Need

Researchers studied the needs of transgender people in the workplace in an article published in the Harvard Business Review, and found that one of the most important things was to have management create a climate of affirmation and support when employees were transitioning. They also found that acceptance by co-workers was key to the wellbeing of transgender employees.

Gay Dads United on Facebook

Vice reported on a Facebook group seeking to connect experienced and prospective gay dads from around the country to share questions and advice. Dads interviewed said that they can face discrimination from non-LGBT people as well as from other queer folks who do not understand their decision to be parents, and that the group (now with 5,000 members) provides them with an affirming community.

LGBT Training Shows Promising Results

A study evaluating a sexual and gender minority training that was conducted in PEPFAR offices in 38 countries found that the one-day training was successful in decreasing negative attitudes towards LGBT people. PEPFAR (which works on HIV issues abroad) had identified such attitudes as a barrier to success, and sought to reduce them with cultural competency training.

Opening SlideNew Presentations on Tobacco and Cancer

LGBT HealthLink published two new presentations: one on colorectal cancer among LGBT individuals, and the other on developing community-clinical linkages to aid in tobacco cessation efforts. Both publications are available at the link above after creating a free account.


#LGBTWellness this week: Is Your Company Helping?

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.


When Companies Help, And When They Hurt

The Pride reported on new research investigating what corporations are doing to help and hinder the advancement of the LGBT community. In addition to looking at workplace LGBT equity issues, they also looked at intersectional issues, like whether the company is involved in tobacco products (whichdisproportionately harm LGBT folks) and their policies around climate change.

What America Thinks about Trans Fertility

A study of a U.S. population sample found that 76.2% of people agreed that “doctors should be able to help transgender people have biological children,” with 60.1% also believing doctors should aid transgender men in carrying pregnancies. People who reported not knowing a gay person, or only knowing a gay person without children, were less likely to be supportive.

Landmark Study of Suicidality and Trans Youth

A representative study of Californian youth – the first of its kind in the U.S. – found that transgender youth reported suicidal ideation in the past year at nearly twice the rate of their peers, with one-third of students reporting such feelings. After adjusting for other factors, depressive symptoms and victimization were both linked to even higher odds of suicidality.

ICYMI: Happy Bi Awareness Week! BiBiBi

Movement Advancement Project celebrated Bisexual Awareness Week by launching a new resource on bisexual older adults (did you know 1% of people 65 and older identify as bisexual?) and another on bisexual transgender people (yes, transgender folks have sexual orientations, too!). They also shared a Spanish-language infographic on the bisexual community.

Exploring HPV Among Queer Men

Two new studies out of Italy explored HPV among men who have sex with men. A study of oral infections found that among queer men living with HIV, age at first sexual experience and quantity of receptive oral sex partners were determinants of HPV infection. Another study examined multisite infections and found that nearly half of queer men were HPV positive at one or more sites.

NIH ReportCDC Explores Tobacco Disparities

The CDC released a report on “a socioecological approach to addressing tobacco-related health disparities,” which explores why populations such as LGBT communities, ethnic and racial minority groups, and people of low socioeconomic status see disparities in tobacco use. It also discusses how tobacco marketing targets these groups, and how policies can help undue disparities.


Is The Air Around Us Making Us Sick?

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

PollutionAre Air Pollutants Adding to Disparities?

A study of national air pollution and census data found that same-sex partners faced 12.3% higher cancer risks and 23.8% higher respiratory risks from hazardous air pollutants than did opposite-sex partners. Researchers warn that these environmental factors could compound other elevated risk factors in the LGBT community, such as higher likelihood of smoking.

“Gaydar” Program Proves Controversial

NBC News reported on a controversial study that tested a computer program’s ability to scan faces and detect if an individual is gay, a feat the program was able to pull off with 81% of gay men and 74% of lesbian women. Some LGBT advocates expressed concern about reducing sexual orientation to an algorithm, especially one that could be used to target sexual minorities.

New Guide to Suicide Prevention Launched Drowning

Movement Advancement Project published a new guide on suicide and the LGBT community, including facts on what we know (and don’t know) about suicidality among LGBT people, as well as sources of resiliency that queer people draw on. The publication also includes guidelines for how to discuss suicide in a way that they say can help advance LGBT health and wellbeing.

Untying Surgery and Gender Marker Changes

JAMA Surgery published an article explaining why having surgery should not be the standard by which to allow transgender individuals to change their legal gender marker between “male” and “female.” They argue that there are many types of clinically-appropriate care and that ultimately transgender individuals should have their right to self-determination honored.

Primary Care Providers and PrEP

Researchers found that in focus groups of queer men, many theoretically preferred the option of getting information on PrEP – the HIV prevention treatment – from their primary care provider. However, the majority cited discomfort actually having such a conversation with their current PCP, underscoring the importance of provider relationships in facilitating HIV prevention.

Trans flow

Making Measures Matter for Trans Folks, Too

Health Affairs published an article on how healthcare quality measures can be adjusted to be inclusive of transgender individuals and help ensure that they receive quality care. The authors say that measures are currently tied to a patient’s sex, which does not match well to the needs of trans patients; this leads to a lost opportunity to educate providers and collect good data.


Trans Men Prefer To Do It Themselves

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Trans pap

How Trans Men Prefer Screening for Cancer

Researchers found that transgender men greatly prefer self-sampling to screen themselves for cervical cancer versus having a provider administer a Pap smear screening, with 57.1% voicing this preference compared to just 20.9% who preferred having a Pap smear. Participants who reported discrimination were more than three times more likely to prefer the self-testing method.

Role of Alcohol in Queer Culture

A Scottish study found that LGBT people find drinking heavily to be a major part of the queer scene, and that things like one’s choice of drink were read as an important statement on one’s identity. While focus group participants rejected many of these stereotypes in their discussions, they nonetheless discussed their pervasiveness, suggesting a dangerously powerful relationship between queer culture and drinking.

Prostate Cancer Study Funded

Minnesota Daily reported that a study on prostate cancer survivorship in the queer community has been funded with a $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. Cancer survivorship in among LGBT folks is a generally under-studied issue, and survivors of prostate cancer often face sexual health challenges that may vary for gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Queer Men Still Flocking to Apps Apps

A study found that 55.7% of men who have sex with men frequently used dating apps and websites like Grindr (the most popular), Jack’d, and Scruff. Two-thirds of these regular users had had only casual sex partners in the last twelve months, making them a high priority population for HIV prevention messages and services.

Experiencing Bias as a Healthcare Profession

JAMA Internal Medicine published an op-ed on how racial bias impacts healthcare professionals, who often face microaggressions from their colleagues and pressure to stay silent. The author points out that patients also become the target of various forms of bias, and calls for targeted interventions to improve the climate of healthcare settings and better advance equity.

Australian flagAustralian Vote Yields Need for Support

Gay Star News reported that Australia’s newly-announced, non-binding referendum on whether it should enact marriage equality has led to stress and anxiety among LGBT youth, who feel stigmatized and worried about the outcome. Politicians had called for a “postal vote” to see how the public is feeling before they decide whether to support same-sex marriage in the legislature.


Check Out That Butt… Literally!

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 seven days. For more LGBTQ Wellness, visit a page dedicated to the topic here.

Self and Partner Anal Exams Prove Promising ProtectButts

A Texas study looked at whether queer men could successfully self-examine or examine a partner for anal abnormalities, including those that could be cancerous. The patients were largely successful in detecting the same abnormalities that the doctor could. Only a small percentage reported that the testing was painful, and 93% said they would do such a test again.

New Info on Trans Folks and Mammograms

A new study of CDC data found that transgender men and women reported having had a mammography screening within the past year at about the same rate as did cisgender women, with transgender men more likely to have done so than transgender women. Researchers caution that the study may overestimate adherence and note the unclear (and perhaps elevated) risk that transgender individuals face of developing breast cancer.

Low HIV Testing Rates for Trans Women

A CDC study found that only 37.5% of transgender women and 36.6% of transgender men reported having ever been tested for HIV, a rate on par with cisgender heterosexual individuals despite the much higher risk that transgender people face. Black transgender men and women reported being tested at about double the rate of white transgender peers, perhaps reflective of higher HIV risk in communities of color.


Queer Millennials Reflect on Mental Healthcare

Bustle explored problems that LGBT millennials encounter in seeking mental healthcare, including therapists who think that queer identity is “just a phase.” Others said that providers fixated on coming out and internalized homophobia without seeing their LGBT identities as intersecting with other parts of their identity and mental health needs.

What Your Mayor Can Do for You

The Center for American Progress released a report on how municipal executives, such as mayors, can take actions to improve the health, safety, and lives of LGBT individuals. They outline ideas such as banning discriminatory healthcare policies, mandating better collection of data, and ensuring equal access to social services through policies and competency trainings.

New E-Cig Tool Launched

The CDC launched a website aimed at dispelling the myths regarding e-cigarettes and warning consumers about potential dangers, including chemicals that they contain and the fact that they have not been proven to help fight cigarette addiction. The resource could be valuable for LGBT health advocates, since findings show LGBT youth use e-cigarettes at a higher rate than others.