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LGB teens smoke at higher rates study finds

Lesbians more than twice as likely to smoke as straight girls

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gay news, Washington Blade, LGB teen smokingLesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents report higher rates of tobacco use than heterosexual teens, according toU.S. study that also highlights gender differences in smoking habits, Reuters reports.

Overall, about 41 percent of lesbian and gay teens use tobacco products including both traditional and e-cigarettes, as do 39 percent of bisexual youth and 32 percent of adolescents who are uncertain about their sexual orientation, the study found. That compares to 30 percent of straight teens.

Lesbians were more than twice as likely as straight girls to smoke, the study also found. Gay teens, however, had roughly the same odds of tobacco use as straight boys, Reuters reports.

“Gender does matter in tobacco use among sexual minority youth,” said lead study author Dr. Hongying Dai of Children’s Mercy Hospital and the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

While some previous research has found teens who aren’t heterosexual tend to be more drawn to smoking than their straight peers, the current study offers fresh insight into how both gender and sexual orientation may separately influence tobacco use, Dai said by email.

For the study, researcher examined nationally representative survey data collected from 14,703 adolescents in high school in 2015.

Most of the participants were straight, while 6 percent were bisexual, 2 percent were gay or lesbian and about 3 percent said they weren’t sure about their sexual identity.

The survey looked at how often youth used four types of tobacco products over the previous month: cigars, snuff or chewing tobacco, traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes, which are battery-powered gadgets with a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.

Gay and lesbian teens, as well as youth uncertain about their sexual orientation, or “questioning,” were more likely than their straight peers to use all four types of tobacco products, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Bisexual teens, a predominantly female group, were more likely than heterosexual youth to use cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes but less likely to use snuff.

The results highlight the need for tobacco control policies that specifically target youth who aren’t heterosexual, the authors conclude.

Limitations of the study include the lack of data on transgender teens and the exclusion of youth who dropped out of high school, the researchers point out. The study also counted any amount of tobacco use the same way, so it didn’t separate teens who reported trying one cigarette from youth with a daily smoking habit.

It also wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether sexual orientation directly influences tobacco use.

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New Partnership to Support LGBTQ COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

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The Leonard-Litz Foundation has partnered with Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, a nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania, to increase the capacity of LGBTQ community centers to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Five LGBTQ community centers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have been selected to receive a grant from the Leonard-Litz Foundation and technical assistance from Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.

The five centers are:

The five participating centers are organizing leading-edge vaccine promotion strategies, even adding incentives such as drag performances and additional health services to the vaccine sites.

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center has been offering LGBTQ COVID-19 vaccine clinics since mid-March and has arranged over 1,000 doses through clinics held on-site. This partnership seeks to ensure that LGBTQ community centers across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are prepared to offer COVID-19 vaccines for the LGBTQ community in their service areas.

“Vaccine hesitancy is the number one issue we need to address if we want to return to living our lives,” said Elliot Leonard, founder of the Leonard-Litz Foundation. “The LGBTQ community has endured decades of discrimination from both public and private health organizations, and many are understandably concerned about revealing personal information as part of the vaccination process. This partnership seeks to address that head-on by implementing vaccine protocols through LGBTQ-supportive organizations.”

“The COVID-19 vaccine is essential to protecting the lives of LGBTQ people—and all people,” said Adrian Shanker, executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. “But due to many barriers to care, LGBTQ people may not be able to access vaccines. That’s why Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is so pleased to partner with Leonard-Litz Foundation and five regional LGBTQ centers to increase capacity for COVID-19 vaccine clinics specifically for the LGBTQ community.”

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center provides arts, health, youth, and pride programs to strengthen and support the LGBTQ community across the Greater Lehigh Valley. They previously received a grant from Leonard-Litz Foundation to help support their LGBTQ-specific health advocacy in Pennsylvania.

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In-person 2022 International AIDS Conference to take place in Montreal

Pandemic forced 2020 gathering to go virtual

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The International AIDS Society has announced the 2022 International AIDS Conference will take place in-person in Montreal.

The conference, which will also feature virtual events, is scheduled to take place from July 29-Aug. 2, 2022. Pre-conference meetings are slated to begin on July 27, 2022.

“AIDS 2022, the world’s largest conference on HIV and AIDS, will convene leading scientists, policy makers and grassroots activists,” reads the International AIDS Society’s announcement.

Canadian Health Minister Patty Hadju is one of the conference’s co-chairs.

“We know that there is still a long way to go in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” said Hadju in an International AIDS Society press release. “In 2022, Canada will proudly host AIDS 2022 so that we can further our commitments to ending the HIV and AIDS global epidemic.”

“We remain committed to our 95-95-95 targets, moving towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and to reducing stigma and discrimination,” added Hadju. “By bringing together domestic and international partners, we can redouble our collective efforts to improve the health of all our citizens and finish the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

The 2020 International AIDS Conference was to have taken place in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., but it took place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2012 International AIDS Conference took place in D.C.

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NAMI in conversation about managing mental health

Guided discussion and Q&A with a panel of experts

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness hosts the fourth edition of “NAMI Ask the Expert Help Not Handcuffs,” a webinar dedicated to addressing mental health crises with effective community responses. During this webinar, community experts provide an overview of the crisis model being developed and implemented in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and offer background on how to get started locally on implementation of a new crisis system.

Following the presentations, NAMI’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Duckworth will lead a guided discussion and Q&A with a panel of experts including Mary Burckell, Director of Safe Haven, Nick Richard, Executive Director of NAMI St. Tammany, Tom Rowan, Project Director and Peer Support Specialist Supervisor of NAMI St. Tammany, and Judge Alan Zaunbrecher, 22nd Judicial District Court of Louisiana. To register, visit NAMI’s website.

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