Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Study: Gay Men Get Better Health Care Than Lesbians

by Newscenter Staff (London) A new study on LGBT health care shows that doctors react more negatively to women than to men who reveal they are gay. The study was conducted in New Zealand and forms part of the "Lavender Island" project - the first major study to be undertaken in the country about access to health care by members of the LGBT community.

The results are reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers at Massey University surveyed 2,269 lesbian, gay and bisexual people to discover how they felt about revealing their sexuality and the reaction of primary healthcare providers, such as family doctors and practice nurses, when they did.

Both men and women reported that healthcare providers generally assumed they were heterosexual. But for women the number was significantly higher. Women also found their healthcare providers were more likely to become uncomfortable when they said they were either lesbian or bisexual. Health-care. Male patients - especially those over the age of 40 - the study found, are much more likely to report positive experiences after telling health-care providers that they are homosexual.

After the disclosure of their sexuality, 43 per cent of men said they felt their health care provider's attitude influenced the care they received in a positive way, compared with 28 per cent of women. The study of 2,269 LGBT people was almost equally divided between men and women. Just over 50 percent of the group had a university degree, compared to 15 per cent of the general New Zealand population.

Almost half was in a same-sex relationship with 45 per cent living with their partners 14 per cent with partners who lived elsewhere. Four percent of the sample group identified as bisexual. "It's important that healthcare providers are aware of people's sexuality as non disclosure has been shown to have a negative impact on their health" said Dr Stephen Neville of Massey University, and one of the authors of the study.. "For example, people who are lesbian, gay and bisexual are more likely to face an increased risk of suicide, depression and other mental health problems."

Neville also said that other health problems appear more prevalent in the LGBT community. "A number of health problems do tend to be more prevalent in lesbian, gay and bisexual people, such as depression. And in the era of HIV and hepatitis B and C, appropriate sex and lifestyle healthcare education must be a core part of any health assessment. Gay news for the Queer Australian

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