Health risks for LGBTQ patients 

A few of the things that healthcare professionals need to be aware of concerning LGBTQ patients

click to enlarge MICHELLE CRAIG
  • Michelle Craig

Numerous studies address the health risks that are prominent in the LGBTQ population. The following statistics are just a few of the health issues that are often prevalent and usually due to a societal hindrance in care, accessibility and knowledge. Statistics are provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


• Higher risk of developing breast cancer than heterosexual women.

• It's estimated that 17.5 percent of straight adults encounter intimate partner domestic violence, compared to roughly 56.4 percent of of lesbian and gay adults and 47.4 percent of bisexual adults.


• A higher percentage of potential body image issues and eating disorders than straight men.

• An increased risk of prostate, testicular and
colon cancers.

• A higher risk of anal cancer due to human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital and anal warts.

• New HIV diagnoses among gay men in the United States are well over 44 times more likely than straight men.


• Lesbian and bisexual women are 2 to 2.5
times more likely to have thoughts of suicide in the past 12 months than heterosexual women.

• Lesbian and bisexual women who have not come out are more likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual women.


• There is a high risk of violence against transgender people and especially against trans women of color.

• Between 16 and 60 percent of transgender people are victims of physical assault or abuse. 13 to 66 percent are victims of sexual assault. Access to substance abuse treatment is systematically limited for transgender people. "Studies have suggested that barriers to treatment services often include discrimination, provider hostility and insensitivity, strict binary gender (male/female) segregation within programs, and lack of acceptance in gender-appropriate recovery groups," according to SAMHSA website.

• A 12-city study revealed that transgender women are more likely to be HIV positive, roughly 5 to 68 percent. HIV rates in trans women of color are estimated to range from 41 to 63 percent, 14 to 50 percent among Latina transgender women; and 4 to 13 percent among Asian-Pacific Islander transgender women.

• A lack of healthcare coverage for things like hormonal replacement therapy often contributes to higher rates of drug abuse and utilizing hormone sources that are outside of healthcare's regulated realm.

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Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor

Emily is the arts editor at NUVO, where she covers everything from visual art to comedy. In fact she is probably at a theater production right now. Before joining the ranks here, she worked for Indianapolis Monthly and Gannett. You can find her thoughts about Indy scattered throughout the NUVO arts section and... more

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