January 22, 2014 | by Staff reports
Gays not widely represented in NIH studies
National Institute of Health, Gay News, Washington Blade

National Institute of Health. (Image public domain)

EAST SUSSEX, UK — Just half of one percent of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health concern LGBT issues according to a new report from the American Journal of Public Health, Medical News Today reports.

The percentage was considered disproportionately low according to researchers from the Pittsburgh Public Health’s Center for LGBT Health Research, the article said.

“In general, LGBT people experience stigma associated with their sexual and gender minority status, disproportionate behavioral risks and psychosocial health problems,” said Robert W.S. Coulter of Pittsburgh Public Health’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.

Coulter and his colleagues found that the NIH funded 628 studies between 1989 and 2011 concerning LGBT health. These stories accounted for 0.5 percent of all NIH studies in total during this period, the Medical News Today article said.

Of the 628 studies, 519 focused on HIV/AIDS and sexual health issues, with 86.1 percent focusing on men, 13.5 percent focusing on women, and 6.8 percent of the studies focusing on transgender people.

The researchers are also concerned about the low numbers of intervention studies addressing LGBT health. Just 21 NIH-funded intervention studies in this period addressed non-HIV LGBT health issues, the article said.

Coulter said political pressure is behind the low number. The report notes a 2003 request made by Republican members of Congress to justify the benefits of nearly 200 NIH projects proposing to study health issues relating to LGBT or other marginalized populations, Medical News Today said.

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