Health – Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights http://www.washingtonblade.com America's Leading LGBT News Source Sun, 23 Sep 2018 02:25:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 LGB teens more likely to use 3 substances http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/21/polysubstance-use-lgb-teens/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/21/polysubstance-use-lgb-teens/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 11:45:14 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=48292198 Alcohol, nicotine and marijuana use higher than straight peers

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Alcohol, nicotine and marijuana use higher in LGB teens than in straight peers.

WASHINGTON — Young LGB people are at an increased risk of using substances such as alcohol, nicotine and marijuana, Millennium Post reports.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, suggested that they are also at higher risk of polysubstance use than their straight peers.

“This data shows definitively that polysubstance use is an issue among many youth who identify as sexual minorities, meaning they are facing added health risks,” said Sarah Dermody, assistant professor at the Oregon State University.

“But there are also differences among the subgroups of youth who identify as sexual minorities, suggesting we need to look beyond the averages to understand what factors may be influencing substance use in this population,” Dermody said, according to Millennium Post.

For the study, the team involved more than 15,000 LGB youth. The goal was to better understand the risks associated with polysubstance use, or the use of three or more types of drugs, among sexual minority youth. The data showed that there is a sizable number of youth, both straight and LGB, who don’t use any substances at all, Dermody said.

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Support recommended for trans children http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/21/support-transgender-children/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/21/support-transgender-children/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 11:30:54 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=48291957 Doctors group says outcomes better when parents on board

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(Photo by Glynnis Jones; courtesy Bigstock)

NEW YORK — A doctors group took a stand in support of transgender children Monday, offering advice in what it called “a rapidly evolving” field, the Associated Press reports.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended support for kids who change their names or hairstyles to affirm their chosen gender identity. The group said children are more likely to have better physical and mental health with such support, AP reports.

The policy describes interventions including hormones to suppress puberty and even surgery for teens on a case-by-case basis. It calls for advocacy in favor of laws protecting transgender youth from discrimination.

The recommendations, published in the journal Pediatrics, come at a time when the Trump administration has put the brakes on such protections, the AP reports.

A study earlier this year found nearly 3 percent of U.S. youth identify as transgender or by other nontraditional gender terms.

The doctors group, which represents 67,000 physicians who treat children and young adults, previously has made public statements in response to so-called bathroom legislation involving transgender people, but this is its first policy statement, the AP reports.

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Trans youth more likely to attempt suicide http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/21/trans-youth-suicide-attempts/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/21/trans-youth-suicide-attempts/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 09:45:23 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=48292458 Researchers studied teens 11-19 for multi-year project

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Researchers studied teens 11-19 for multi-year project

TUCSON, Ariz. — Transgender adolescents are far more likely to attempt suicide than teens whose identity matches what it says on their birth certificates and trans male youth are especially at risk, Reuters reports citing a U.S. study.

Roughly half of transgender teens who identify as male but were assigned a female gender at birth have attempted suicide at least once, the study found. And 42 percent of adolescents who don’t identify exclusively as male or female have at least one prior suicide attempt, Reuters reports.

About 30 percent of trans female teens, who identify as female but have birth certificates that label them as male, have tried suicide at least once, as have 28 percent of adolescents who are questioning their gender identity, the study also found.

In contrast to all of these groups of transgender teens, just 18 percent of females and 10 percent of males who are cisgender have attempted suicide.

“Our findings are startling,” said study leader Russell Toomey of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

“Previous studies had already demonstrated that transgender teens reported higher levels of suicidal behavior compared to cisgender adolescents, but our study is the first to go beyond this type of crude comparison to examine whether there are critical differences in suicidal behavior within transgender youth populations,” Toomey told Reuters by email.

“While all four transgender subgroups reported higher levels compared to cisgender female and male youth, it is important for targeted prevention and intervention efforts to know that transmasculine and nonbinary trans youth are at higher risk,” Toomey added.

To assess the connection between gender identity and suicide risk, researchers examined survey data collected between 2012-2015 from more than 120,000 youth nationwide ranging in age from 11-19, Reuters reports.

Participants were 15 years old on average, and less than 1 percent of them identified as transgender. Among other things, the survey asked teens if they had tried to kill themselves one or more times.

Overall, nearly 14 percent of the participants said they had, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Parents’ education levels and family socioeconomic status didn’t appear to influence whether teens would attempt suicide, the study also found.

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Only 4 percent of U.S. gay men on PrEP: study http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/14/4-percent-prep-truvada-study/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/14/4-percent-prep-truvada-study/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 16:31:59 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=47885375 Findings lower than previously thought according to CDC

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Pre-exposure prophylaxis, non-daily PrEP, Truvada, domestic violence, AIDS drugs, PrEP, gay news, Washington Blade

A study published in the journal PLOS ONE reported that only four percent of sexually active gay and bisexual men are on a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) regimen.

LOS ANGELES — Only 4 percent of sexually active gay and bisexual men in the United States use Truvada, a highly effective medication used to prevent the transmission of HIV, according to the results of a first-of-its-kind study, MedicalXPress reports.

Led by Psychology Professor Phillip Hammack, the study was published Sept. 7 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Truvada is a once-a-day prescription medication used to reduce the risk of HIV infection; it is the only FDA-approved form of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for those at high risk of HIV/AIDS.

“The extremely low rate of PrEP use, while not surprising given barriers to access in various parts of the country, is disappointing,” Hammack said, according to MedicalXPress.

Researchers also found that most sexually active gay and bi men aged 18-25 are not tested for HIV annually, as recommended by the CDC, and 25 percent of young men have never been tested, PLOS ONE reports.

Conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, the study is the first to report on estimates of HIV testing and use of PrEP among gay and bi men using a national probability sample in the United States. In the study, researchers examined gay and bisexual men in three age groups: young (18-25), middle (34-41) and older (52-59).

Other key findings regarding PrEP use include:

• Visiting an LGBT health clinic and searching online for LGBT resources were associated with greater likelihood of PrEP use.

• 52 percent of young sexually active gay and bisexual men were familiar with PrEP as HIV prevention, compared with 79 percent of men aged 34-41.

• Bisexual and non-urban men were less familiar with PrEP compared with gay-identified and urban men.

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Dementia rates slightly lower for LGB adults http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/14/dementia-rates-lgb-older-adults/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/14/dementia-rates-lgb-older-adults/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 16:20:15 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=47884792 Depression, hypertension, stroke among likely factors

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The prevalence for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for LGB older adults is 7.4 percent, according to a recent study.

CHICAGO — Dementia prevalence rates are slightly lower for LGB older adults than their straight counterparts, new research has found, although the sample groups did not align exactly on age.

Rates for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the general population for those 65 and older is about 10 percent; prevalence was 7.4 percent for LGB adults in a recent study composed of participants 60 and older.

The findings, presented this summer at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, are said to be the first on dementia prevalence for LGB older adults. They were announced in a press release.

Researchers from University of California, San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, Calif., examined the prevalence of dementia among 3,718 sexual minority adults age 60 and up who participated in the Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health. Dementia diagnoses were collected from medical records.

The findings were gleaned over a nine-year period of follow-up. According to the researchers, significant rates of depression, hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease in the study population may be contributing factors to the level of dementia.

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HIV rates down overall in San Francisco http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/14/hiv-rates-down-overall-in-san-francisco/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/09/14/hiv-rates-down-overall-in-san-francisco/#respond Fri, 14 Sep 2018 16:08:47 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=47884017 Figures higher for black and homeless populations

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(Photo by Supercarwaar via Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Department of Public Health presented its latest HIV epidemiology report to the Health Commission last week showing that while the number of new infections continues to decline, African-Americans and homeless people have persistently higher infection rates and poorer outcomes, the Bay Area Reporter reports.

The DPH reported 221 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, the lowest number since the start of the epidemic. This represents a 5 percent decline from 2016, following two years of steeper drops of around 15 percent, the article notes.

The latest findings indicate that San Francisco is making progress toward achieving the goals of its Getting to Zero initiative: zero new infections, zero deaths due to HIV/AIDS and zero stigma against people living with HIV, the Bay Area Reporter said.

Sixty percent of people with newly diagnosed HIV in 2017 were men who have sex with men. People who inject drugs (including gay and bisexual men) accounted for 25 percent of new diagnoses, and straight men and women accounted for 6 percent. The decade-long decline in new infections among people who inject drugs has leveled off and may be starting to increase slightly. Fourteen percent of newly diagnosed people were homeless, the Bay Area Reporter reports.

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Raising healthy adults starts now http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/29/sworkit-advertorial/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/29/sworkit-advertorial/#respond Wed, 29 Aug 2018 14:04:53 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46914422 Digital health and fitness company helping people get lean, fit

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Benjamin Young (Photo courtesy Sworkit)

Advertorial

According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), more than 30% of high school students in the United States are overweight or obese. It’s a startling, tragic statistic. Though the number of students drinking sodas every day has decreased, the number of physically active students is trending downward.

Research shows the positive impact of physical activity for kids, and not just in their immediate future. While active students get 40% higher test scores, they are also 15% more likely to go to college and earn seven to eight percent more income as adults (The Aspen Institute, Project Play 2020).

Unfortunately, there are significant barriers preventing our nation’s youth from participating in organized sports, including the expense and time commitment for working parents and caregivers. Yet, there’s evidence that active parents and caregivers breed active kids, and kids of active moms are twice as likely to be physically active. With several states behind the curve on minimum physical education and recess regulations, it’s time for a new solution to step in and step up for America’s youth.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Aspen Institute, among others, are researching ways to solve this critical childhood issue. All the data shows that working in a supportive community environment and providing easy access to physical activity will help move the needle toward success.

I’m proud to say that my company, Sworkit, is jumping in to help. Sworkit is a premium digital health and fitness company providing workouts and personalized plans to help people get leaner, fitter and stronger. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or equipment to be active, making our technology a perfect fit for youth, under the supervision of adults.

Sworkit has developed the Sworkit Youth Initiative for youth to use our fitness technology for FREE. We are asking all teachers and coaches to contact Sworkit to obtain free access to help motivate and excite students to establish positive healthy habits. We want to help foster the next generation of happy and successful adults by providing nutritional guides, fitness resources, sports equipment, technology and camp scholarships.

By offering free fitness technology to our youth to become more active and build healthier habits, we believe this unfettered access will encourage physical activity for students and engage their families to get moving together.

This investment in our kids will create a huge payoff for our nation. Childhood obesity is directly responsible for more than $14 billion in medical cost per year, but that’s just a drop in the bucket. The direct medical cost for obese adults is $190.2 billion each year, according to the National League of Cities. Preventing kids from growing up to be overweight and obese, the NLC predicts Americans can save more than half a trillion dollars over the next 20 years! To create a truly intergenerational cycle of healthy Americans, let’s empower our youth to become adults that don’t have to fight back against unhealthy habits from their childhood.

Imagine a day when we can proudly announce we’ve beat childhood obesity – that our children are healthy, happy and well-positioned to be the future leaders of our nation. This is the goal.

And, while Sworkit is just one piece of the puzzle, we’re happy to offer a technology-based solution to work alongside with partners in this fight to ensure a healthier generation to come. Change starts when we work together to fight youth inactivity, and it starts today. We have the tools to empower students and engage families for a lasting, generational impact on our nation’s health. It’s time to share them.

 

Benjamin Young is CEO and co-founder of Sworkit. Follow him on Twitter: @obenyoung. And follow Sworkit on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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LGBT Latinx support offered in Boston http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/24/lgbt-latinx-support-offered-in-boston/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/24/lgbt-latinx-support-offered-in-boston/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 13:06:54 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46624529 75-minute group will meet weekly at Fenway Health

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Boston (Photo public domain)

BOSTON — Fenway Health is offering a new Spanish support group for Latinx LGBT people, The Rainbow Times reports.

“Many LGBT people in the Latinx community struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation or gender identity with entrenched anti-LGBT cultural and religious stigma,” said Gerardo Moreno-Serrano, a bilingual psychotherapist at Fenway Health, who facilitates the group, according to The Rainbow Times. “Additionally, they must contend with racism and homophobia within our broader society, higher rates of HIV, immigration and asylum issues, and other issues of health and safety. Our group aims to give LGBT Latinx people the tools and support they need to live healthy, authentic, fulfilling lives.”

About 1.4 million (4.3 percent) of Latinx adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT, the Times reports citing Williams Institute numbers.

Data analysis by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs shows that LGBT Latinx people are more likely than people of other racial and ethnic minority backgrounds to experience hate violence. The community is also disproportionately affected by HIV. According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men accounted for 85 percent (7,271) of the HIV diagnoses among Hispanic/Latino men in 2015. Hispanic and Latina transgender women are also significantly affected by HIV, the Rainbow Times article notes.

The LGBTQ Process Group in Spanish for the Latinx community meets weekly at Fenway Health’s Ansin Building, 1340 Boylston St, 7th floor, from noon-1:15 p.m. every Wednesday. The group is an open and ongoing culturally sensitive intervention for the Spanish-speaking LGBT community to explore how race/ethnicity, gender/sexual orientation, religion/spirituality, culture/traditions, family/society, and developmental stage have an impact on Latinx LGBT people. The group is open to Fenway Health patients and others (age 21 and up) regardless of where they get medical services and referrals are accepted on an ongoing basis, The Rainbow Times reports.

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Denmark to revise blood donation laws in 2019 http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/24/denmark-to-revise-blood-donation-laws-in-2019/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/24/denmark-to-revise-blood-donation-laws-in-2019/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46585901 ‘The authority has found a model we feel is safe’

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Copenhagen, Denmark (Photo by Mstyslav Chernov via Wikimedia Commons)

COPENHAGEN — Sexually active gay men in Denmark will be able to donate blood in 2019, the Copenhagen Post reports, citing the country’s health minister.

The new rules mean gay men will be able to donate blood if they haven’t had sex with a man within a quarantine period of four months. The quarantine period is voided if the donor is in a relationship with one partner.

“The authority has found a model we feel is safe and we will therefore incorporate it into Denmark. All safety mechanisms in our blood donation system are built on trust and we have some very advanced tests that screen the blood,” health officials said according to the Copenhagen Post.

Advocates have been pushing for the change for several years, the paper said, but only last year did the country’s Authority for Patient Safety seriously look into a viable model.

Since 2009, all donor blood has been screened in Denmark for the likes of HIV and hepatitis B and C.

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Cost a barrier to LGB health treatment: study http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/17/cost-a-barrier-to-lgb-health-treatment-study/ http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/08/17/cost-a-barrier-to-lgb-health-treatment-study/#respond Fri, 17 Aug 2018 18:02:33 +0000 http://www.washingtonblade.com/?p=46261506 More queer people avoid procedures than straight counterparts

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More queer people avoid procedures than their straight counterparts.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Under the Affordable Care Act, LGB adults are insured at the same rate as straights in the U.S. but are more likely to avoid necessary medical treatment due to cost, MedicalXPress reports.

Researchers analyzed three data sets from the CDC spanning from 2014-15 (the first year the survey asked about sexual orientation) to 2016-17, the most current data set. The study included about 330,000 adults between ages 18-64, 4.3 percent of whom identified as LGB.

Of those surveyed via the study, 16.4 percent of LGB adults reported avoiding or delaying medical treatment for financial reasons, compared to 14.2 percent of their straight peers. Given the large number of people surveyed, that difference proved statistically significant, MedicalXPress reports.

The study was publishd in the Aug. 6 edition of Health Affairs.

Though the study did not explore the cause of the difference in being able to afford medical treatments based on prior studies, researchers said one possible explanation is that more LGB adults had individually purchased insurance, which may have higher copays or deductibles than employer-sponsored insurance. Another possibility is that on average LGB individuals may need more medical services than straight individuals, MedicalXPress reports.

In addition to similar levels of health insurance, the study also found that LGB individuals now report comparable levels of having a primary care doctor and having an annual check-up as their straight peers — approximately 77 percent and 66 percent, respectively, MedicalXPress reports.

Yet despite comparable levels of access to health care, LGB adults reported 5.3 days in the last month where poor health prevented them from doing normal activities, compared to 4.9 for their straight peers. Similarly, they reported 5.6 poor mental health days (days with stress, depression or emotional problems) in the last month, compared to 3.9, MedicalXPress reports.

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