Inequities in healthcare access and outcomes remain prevalent in many populations. This is especially true within the LGBTQ+ community, as many face challenges that prevent them from accessing the timely, quality care they need. LGBTQ+ individuals are at higher risk for certain medical conditions and have less access to healthcare, resulting in them experiencing worse health outcomes than heterosexual individuals .
Understanding the healthcare needs and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the United States is important for addressing barriers and facilitating access to care. Here’s more about the barriers to care that the LGBTQ+ community face and how at-home healthcare solutions, including virtual care and prescription delivery, can increase equitable access to care.
Reasons for Health Disparities in the LGBTQ+ Community
A combination of discrimination and a lack of education regarding LGBTQ+ health issues contribute to deepening health disparities experienced by members of this population. As a minority group, there is a lack of specific education and training for healthcare workers and less research on health-related issues specific to this community. Barriers range from discrimination in healthcare settings to finding medical professionals who are knowledgeable about the medical needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
Nearly a sixth of LGBTQ adults have experienced discrimination at the doctor’s office or in another healthcare setting, while a fifth say they have avoided seeking medical care out of fear of discrimination . They were more likely to report negative provider experiences, including being blamed for health problems or having concerns dismissed. Once someone has experienced discrimination and stigma in a healthcare setting, it can prevent them from seeking the care they need in the future. Inclusive and accessible healthcare sensitive to this community's unique needs is needed to address such disparities.
Physical health disparities LGBTQ+ individuals face
LGBTQ+ people are at greater risk for certain conditions, diseases, and infections than their heterosexual counterparts. For example, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are most affected by HIV in the United States . Stigma and discrimination put these individuals at risk for multiple physical and mental health problems. This also affects whether they seek and receive high-quality health services, including HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services.
Older LGBTQ+ adults are likelier to rate their health as poor and report more chronic conditions with less social support . Research has also shown that LGBTQ+ individuals are also less likely to comply with healthcare screening or treatment. Approximately 30% of LGBT adults do not seek health care services or do not have a regular health care provider, compared with 10% of heterosexuals .
Healthcare access disparities in the LGBTQ+ community
Access to comprehensive, quality healthcare is important for promoting and maintaining health, preventing and managing disease, and achieving health equity for all. However, the LGBTQ+ population suffers from prejudice and discrimination in access and use of these services.
They are less likely to have health insurance and are more likely to delay getting care .The LGBTQ+ community can face unjust barriers to accessing something as simple as a yearly checkup. Discrimination, a lack of proper training, and an insufficient understanding of LGBTQ+ needs contribute to the obstacles they face to live healthy lives.
What LetsGetChecked is doing to close the health disparities gap
It’s often challenging for members of the LGBTQ+ community to feel safe engaging in healthcare services. LetsGetChecked’s accessible and patient-centric at-home healthcare solutions meet people where they are so that they can engage in quality care on their own terms.
This Pride Month, and every month, LetsGetChecked is committed to creating a safe space for everyone to receive the health insights and care they need. With at-home testing, virtual care, and prescription delivery, we make it easy for your people to have a confidential and comfortable healthcare experience.