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Older LGBTQIA people more likely to report health-related challenges

Almost half (47%) of LGBTQIA people report that they have an ongoing health condition that requires regular monitoring, medical care, or medication, a higher share than for non-LGBTQIA people (40%). This is particularly the case for LGBTQIA people aged 45 and older, who are twice as likely to report having an ongoing health condition than younger LGBTQIA people (77% v. 39%).

Senior members of the LGBTQIA community are managing chronic conditions or living with disabilities that impact their daily lives, in some cases more so than among non-LGBTQIA people.

This is according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), which based its findings from a survey of adults ages 18 to 64 in the US to “help illuminate some of the long-standing health disparities experienced by people who identify as LGBTQIA or ‘something else’ other than straight.”

According to report author Lindsey Dawson, associate director of HIV policy at KFF, there continues to be a dearth of information in terms of health data for LGBTQIA people. This – in turn – poses a challenge for policymakers and researchers seeking to address the community’s health needs.

Among the findings highlighted by the report were:

  • Almost half (47%) of LGBTQIA people report that they have an ongoing health condition that requires regular monitoring, medical care, or medication, a higher share than for non-LGBTQIA people (40%). This is particularly the case for LGBTQIA people aged 45 and older, who are twice as likely to report having an ongoing health condition than younger LGBTQIA people (77% v. 39%).
  • LGBTQIA men and women report similar rates of an ongoing health conditions (52% and 44%, respectively.
  • A larger share of LGBTQIA people report having a disability or chronic disease that keeps them from participating fully in work, school, housework, or other activities than non-LGBTQIA people (21% v. 14%).

The researchers also looked at LGBTQIA respondents’ experiences with preventive health care, and they found that there are also disparities. For instance, only 35% of LGBTQIA women ages 40 to 64 reported having a mammogram in the past two years, compared to 64% of non-LGBT women of the age. LGBTQIA respondents were also more likely to say they’ve had conversations with their healthcare provider about mental health, and topics like housing security.

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