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Health Risks for LGBTQ+ Communities

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Members of the LGBTQ+ community have unique and complex health needs that heterosexuals don’t face. Health disparities and barriers to care can make staying healthy challenging, but knowing LGBTQ+ health risks can ensure you stay on top of your health. Local and national resources can help you prevent or treat these health conditions with the right medical testing, care and support.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community have unique health needs and risks that they have to be aware of to stay healthy. In addition to risks that affect all men and women regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, such as heart disease and cancer, people in the LGBTQ+ community may face certain higher physical and mental health risks.

“Health equals self-care. Sometimes we can put our health on the back burner,” Joel Morales, Director of Operations at the LGBTQ+ Center in Orlando, told Drugwatch. “We should really focus on our health and self-care, because if we are taking care of ourselves then we can help others in the community. We have our chosen family that is depending on us to be there tomorrow.”

Unique Health Risks for LGBTQ+ People

  • Greater risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Higher rates of substance abuse and smoking
  • Higher risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Greater risk of suicide attempts
  • Higher risk of certain cancers

The community also faces higher rates of homelessness and sexual assault that can negatively affect health and wellbeing.


  • By

    Michelle Llamas BCPA, Drugwatch

  • Published

    May 05, 2023

  • Subject Area
    • General Health and Wellness
    • Mental Health and Wellness
    • LGBTQIA2S+
    • Information, Referral, & Advocacy
  • Audience
    • Service Providers (Non-profits, Community Organizations, Local government)
    • Caregivers, Seniors & Volunteers
    • Government (Politicians, Policy Makers) and Health Authorities
  • Category
    • Best Practices
    • Research & Evidence
    • Participants & Intake


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