Members of the LGBT+ community are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus than the rest of the population, states the National LGBT+ Cancer Network in an open letter, signed by more than 100 organisations. The letter lists three main reasons for this and is asking the LGBT+ community to be extra careful and take precautions to avoid the disease.
The first reason according to the letter is that the LGBT+ community is 50% more likely to smoke than heterosexual people. Smoking reduces immunity to respiratory diseases and coronavirus has is a respiratory disease.
Second, people from the LGBT+ community have higher rates of cancer and HIV, both of which can compromise one’s immune system. Since there is a big percentage of people living with HIV without their knowledge, doctors believe they are at greater risk of contracting the virus.
Third, LGBT+ people face barriers when it comes to access to healthcare. In has been suggested that LGBT+ people avoid or delay healthcare because of the discrimination they face and LGBT+ homelessness means that LGBT+ people don’t have access to health care altogether.
The letter concludes with a list of measures people of power can take to protect the LGBT+ community, “including targeted public health campaigns, training health care workers to provide equal care to LGBTQ people, and working with LGBTQ health organizations,” as ‘LGBTQ Nation’ writes.
“As LGBTQ+ community and health leadership, the undersigned organizations offer to stand shoulder to shoulder with the mainstream health leadership to make sure we learn from history and do not allow any population to be disproportionately impacted or further stigmatized by a virus,” the letter concludes.
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