LGBT individuals no longer have to face questions on their orientation or their gender identity on most surveys. Though, this is a positive development, yet one negative side to this is the fact, that it is often difficult to make an estimate of the number of LGBT individuals and their various health needs. Undoubtedly, they face health disparities, in spite of worldwide change in acceptance and understanding!
Why do we face health risks?
Research reveals that LGBT individuals face several health disparities, and this is directly linked to societal stigma, some form of discrimination and also denial of many of their civil and human rights. It is found that discrimination against such persons is closely associated with increasing rate of psychiatric disorders, instances of substance abuse, depression, suicidal tendency and violence. It also leads to poor self-esteem and often causes a feeling of shame and guilt. Such victimization of such individuals often has long-lasting impact on their mental and physical aids. Most of their sicknesses are associated with continuous stress, anxiety, depression and also societal pressure.
Research studies that the LGBT community suffer from several health conditions which include cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, thyroid and other health issues, most of which are directly related to psychological pressure and stigma which they often go through.
Importance of LGBT Health:
Research reveals that the overall health of the community is reported to be “poor” mainly due to lack of concern and often awareness. For survival in a healthy society, it’s important to eliminate LGBT health disparities. It is also needed to enhance efforts which help in improving LGBT health, ensuring they can lead a healthy and long life, just like everyone else. Addressing health concerns faced by the community is of prime importance due to the following reasons.
If health issues of the individuals are addressed, it will help in reducing disease transmission as well as progression. Everyone has equal right to medical benefits and treatments. No matter what health issue LGBT individuals are facing, it is important that they get healthcare facilities at the earliest.
It is important for increasing mental and the physical well-being of the individual. Continuous social stigma sometimes queries, and curiosity can lead to discomfort, withdrawal symptoms, anxiety and sadness.
LGBT individuals often face problems related to financial instability due to difficulties in getting employed. Reduced medical expenses can encourage them to approach healthcare facilities, without any fear of having to spend a lot of money.
With the availability of proper healthcare facilities, reduced expenses and cooperation from the healthcare specialities, it will ensure overall good health of the individuals. Health issues can be diagnosed early, and treatment started.
In order to achieve all this, it is crucial to take steps to improve LGBT health. This includes collection of data related to the community, surveys to find out health issues and identity the medical disparities they might be facing. Medical students should be trained to cater to the needs of the LGBT, understand their mental conditions and help them psychologically as well.
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