Research Shows Gaps In Health Services Provided to LGBT People

BY BTL STAFF

LGBT community health centers have been a major provider of health services to LGBT people in the U.S., but there are significant gaps in the types of services offered by centers across the country, according to a new study by Alexander J. Martos, Patrick A. Wilson, and Ilan H. Meyer, researchers at Columbia University and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

"We knew that LGBT community organizations have long provided an alternative and presumably better informed and more sensitive source of health services than is available from mainstream health care providers," said primary author Alexander J. Martos. "However, we found that services provided by LGBT community health centers are limited in scope and are not accessible to many LGBT people in places where they need them most."

The study identified 213 LGBT community health centers operating in 37 states. No LGBT community health centers were operating in eleven states primarily clustered in the central U.S. (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming), Alaska, or Hawaii.

Most LGBT community health centers provide wellness programs and services (72 percent), HIV/STI services (65 percent), and counseling services (52 percent). Among the services least available across health centers are transgender care services (10 percent), pharmacy services (8 percent), and psychiatric services (3 percent).

"The findings highlight the need for public health services to invest in expanding the reach of LGBT health services across the United States as well as the need for training of the mainstream health care force in expert, culturally-competent care of LGBT people," said Ilan H. Meyer, Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute and the study's principal investigator.

The research has been published in the open-access online journal PLOS ONE. The article is titled "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health services in the United States: Origins, evolution, and contemporary landscape."


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