Q&A: Challenges facing LGBTQ adults

September 11, 2019
Medicare Web

Q: What specific health challenges do LGBTQ adults face?

A: Research shows the LGBTQ community has higher incidences of asthma, headaches, allergies, gastrointestinal issues, and cancer than do heterosexual and cisgender populations. Cardiovascular risk factors are also elevated for this population. The chronic stress faced by coping with ongoing victimization can lead to a range of life struggles, including obesity and limited physical activity in adulthood. Each of these issues accounts for an increased tendency toward disability and poor overall general health.

Lesbian and bisexual women report poorer overall physical health and higher rates of asthma, urinary tract infections, and hepatitis B and C compared to heterosexual women. Along with gay and bisexual men, both groups report heightened risk for and diagnosis of cancers and higher rates of cardiovascular disease diagnosis. Gay and bisexual men report lower rates of surviving cancer. Chronic diseases are more prevalent, with more frequent acuity identified. The past several years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of new HIV infections among gay and bisexual men in the U.S. Regardless of sexual identity, Black men accounted for 54% of all new diagnoses of HIV infection in 2016, higher than any other group.

For more information, see The Social Determinants of Health: Case Management's Next Frontier.