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Of note, LGBT persons are more likely to identify themselves as being in poor health than heterosexual individuals, and different segments of the LGBT population have individual health risks and needs.For example, gay and bisexual men are at increased risk for certain sexually transmitted infections and account for more than half of all persons living with HIV or AIDS in the United States (1); lesbian women are less likely to have mammography or Papanicolaou test screening for cancer (2); lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to be overweight or obese (3); and lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons are more likely to become disabled at a younger age than heterosexual individuals (4). In this position paper, the American College of Physicians examines the health disparities experienced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and makes a series of recommendations to achieve equity for LGBT individuals in the health care system. Approved by the ACP Board of Regents on 27 April 2015. Recent years have brought about reliable data collection, research, and a greater understanding of the health care needs of the LGBT community and the challenges they face in accessing care.
The College encourages medical schools, hospitals, physicians' offices, and other medical facilities to adopt gender identity as part of their nondiscrimination and antiharassment policies.2.
The American College of Physicians supports data collection and research into understanding the demographics of the LGBT population, potential causes of LGBT health disparities, and best practices in reducing these disparities.7.
Medical schools, residency programs, and continuing medical education programs should incorporate LGBT health issues into their curricula.
These laws and policies, along with others that reinforce marginalization, discrimination, social stigma, or rejection of LGBT persons by their families or communities or that simply keep LGBT persons from accessing health care, have been associated with increased rates of anxiety, suicide, and substance or alcohol abuse (7).
Addressing these disparities will require changes in the way LGBT persons and their families are regarded in society and by the health care system.
Draft recommendations were reviewed by the ACP Board of Regents, Board of Governors, Council of Early Career Physicians, Council of Resident/Fellow Members, Council of Student Members, and Council of Subspecialty Societies.