More research finds health disparities for LGB patients

Two studies in the American Journal of Public Health discovered healthcare disparities that cause gay, lesbian and bisexual patients to suffer more health problems, including highly preventable illnesses such as pneumonia.

A U.S. study by researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics found that LGB adults were more likely than straight adults to delay or not receive care because of cost. Researchers investigated five access barriers:

  • Delaying or forgoing care because of cost
  • Forgoing specific services because of cost
  • Delaying care for noncost reasons
  • Difficulty finding a provider
  • No usual source of care

They found bisexual adults were more likely to delay care for non-cost reasons, and gay men had higher odds of reporting trouble finding a provider. Bisexual women had the highest odds of reporting three of the five.

Meanwhile, a study in Sweden found that there were no differences based on sexual orientation for morbidity from low-preventable diseases, but gay and bisexual men were 48 percent more likely than straight men to have a highly-preventable illness, while lesbian and bisexual women were 64 percent more likely than straight women to have highly preventable illnesses.

The researchers said their findings suggest LBG patients are not afforded the same access to health-protection resources including prestige, power and supportive social connections.

LGBT advocates have long argued that healthcare providers don't understand lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients, in part because hospitals underemphasize training and education.

Part of the problem is patient stereotyping based on a number of factors, including sexual and gender identity, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Patients who feel judged by providers are less likely to seek out care, including preventative care such as flu shots, research found.

To learn more:
- here's the Swedish study abstract
- here's the abstract of the U.S. study