Monday, November 29, 2021

Lesbian and Bisexual Women's Health Issues


Lesbian and Bisexual Women's Health Issues

Research has shown that the following are some of the most common health concerns faced by lesbian and bisexual women. While they may not all apply to everyone, they are important concerns for lesbian and bisexual women and their health care providers to be aware of.

Breast Exams

Lesbian and bisexual women have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than heterosexual women, but they are less likely to obtain regular cancer screenings, like mammograms, which are used to diagnose the condition in its early stages. This is very problematic because early detection is key to the treatment of the disease and increases the woman’s chances of remission.

Intimate Partner Violence

While people may not associate same-sex relationships with intimate partner violence, the statistics show that it is a major concern for lesbian and bisexual women. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that compared to 35 percent of heterosexual women, 43.8 percent of lesbian women and 61.1 percent of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. Compounding this problem are barriers accessing support services, lack of training on the part of the service providers and discrimination in shelters.

Happy Couple Relaxing at Home

Expert Answers

Looking for a health care provider is never easy, but for LGBT individuals, the search is especially challenging. Paula M. Neira, a nurse educator, lawyer and former naval officer, explains the importance of coming out and offers advice for finding the right doctor.

Help gay youth get a healthy start in life. Substance Abuse

On average, lesbian and bisexual women drink more than heterosexual women and have a higher occurrence of alcohol-related problems, like alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Research has also discovered higher rates of smoking, cocaine and marijuana use among lesbian and bisexual women than heterosexual women. The use and abuse of these substances is linked to multiple forms of cancer and conditions of the heart and lungs, which are the top three causes of death among women.

Like some of the other health concerns common among lesbian and bisexual women, rates of drug use may be tied to stress resulting from discrimination, homophobia and/or sexism. 


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Positive LGBTQ Self Images Save Lives

LGBTQ + positive self-images matter and save lives

Dr. Bill Buffie, an Indiana interrnist and a gay-rights supporter, tells the terrible story of a lesbian young woman who refused to see a doctor, because she was terrified of coming out to one, even a woman. Indiana is conservative country and this woman was raised to live in shame about her sexuality.

Having missed routine breast care screenings, she developed a large metastatic breast tumor. It quickly became untreatable and she died at age 32.

What are barriers to health care for LGBTQ people?

Access to care. LGBTQ+ people have less access to the health care they need. They are:

  • Less likely to have health insurance.
  • More likely to delay getting care, especially in older LGBTQ+ adults.
  • More likely to report lack of cultural competence by health care providers.
  • More likely to report poor quality of care and unfair treatment by healthcare providers.

What causes these disparities?

There are many causes of the health disparities faced by LGBTQ+ people. These include:

  • The minority status of LGBTQ+ people
  • A lack of specific education and training for health care workers
  • A lack of clinical research on LGBTQ+ health-related issues
  • Restrictive health benefits
  • Limited role models
  • Fear due to stigma, discrimination, and institutional bias in the health care system.

Friday, November 19, 2021

LGBTQ+ Health Disparities Part 1


LGBTQ+ youth face crises of mental and physical health that can last a lifetime.

(First published on

Health disparities are differences in health between different groups of people. LGBTQ+ people experience a number of health disparities. They're at higher risk of certain conditions, have less access to health care, and have worse health outcomes. These disparities are seen in the areas of behavioral health, physical health, and access to care.

Behavioral health. Behavioral health includes mental health, substance abuse, and addiction. LGBTQ+ people are at greater risk of:

  • Suicide and suicidal thoughts

  • Mood disorders and anxiety

  • Eating disorders

  • Alcohol and substance abuse

  • Tobacco use

Physical health. LGBTQ+ people are at greater risk for certain conditions, diseases, and infections:

  • Gay and bisexual men are more likely to have HIV/AIDS.

  • Transgender Women, Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino men have the highest risk for HIV infection.

  • Older LGBTQ+ adults are more likely to rate their health as poor and report more chronic conditions while having less social support.

  • Lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to be obese.

  • LGBTQ+ people are less likely to have a regular health care provider.

  • Lesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of breast cancer, and transgender men and women are at greater risk.

  • LGBTQ+ people have higher rates of HPV infection and related cervical or anal cancers.