NEW YORK — New York State is launching a campaign to collect coordinated data on residents’ sexual orientation as part of a comprehensive effort to improve health and human services for LGBT New Yorkers, the state’s health department announced Wednesday as reported by Capital, a New York-based news publication.
It would be the first such statewide effort in the country, Dan O’Connell, director of the state Health Department’s AIDS Institute, said in an interview with Capital.
Eight state agencies will soon begin collecting the self-reported, voluntary data on LGBT people who use their services. The agencies will ask people using their public services to self-report their sexual orientation on forms, along with other identifying data state agencies typically collect, the Capital article notes.
A 2011 Institute of Medicine report showed that limited data collection on health issues specific to the LGBT community had made it more difficult to identify disparities in the kinds of care available to them.
If that data was available, the state could develop better ways of addressing health problems like HIV/AIDS and certain types of cancers prevalent among gay men. For example, O’Connell said, “70 percent of all new (HIV) infections are among men who have sex with men. We need to be able to track this population.”