Being LGBT can affect someone’s health in a range of ways. For instance, transgender women and gay or bisexual men are particularly likely to be living with HIV; HRC is working to end the HIV epidemic and reduce stigma around HIV. We also know that social and family pressures put LGBTQ teens at particular risk for problems with alcohol and drugs, a topic HRC and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids addressed in a brief last year. And some LGBT people have difficulty finding competent, affirming healthcare—which is why HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index highlights healthcare facilities that have implemented LGBT-inclusive policies and training in LGBT patient care.
Yet there is still so much that we do not know about how being LGBT impacts people’s health. That is why as HRC observes National LGBT Health Awareness Week, we celebrate researchers who are advancing what we know about LGBT health. We are especially excited about our partnership with The PRIDE Study, the first large, long-term health study specific to LGBT people and communities.
Led by University of California, San Francisco researchers Mitchell R. Lunn and Juno Obedin-Maliver, The PRIDE Study has already enrolled more than 17,000 participants nationwide. After a simple sign-up process, participants will fill out an annual online survey about their health. Some may also be invited to take surveys designed for specific groups, such as bisexual men or people of color.
Data from the same people over time is especially valuable to researchers, but few have collected this type of information from LGBT communities. Using a sophisticated mobile app and website, The PRIDE Study will be able to keep in touch with participants over the years ahead. This will allow researchers to understand how our health and well-being change over time. Crucially, it will also help them determine whether health concerns and experiences that often appear together actually cause one another. This type of information is invaluable in finding ways to improve our communities’ health.
From the ground up, The PRIDE Study is designed to look at issues that matter to LGBT people. In its app’s community forum, participants can propose and vote on topics they want the study to address. The study is also working closely with partner organizations, from national groups like HRC to local community groups across the country.
HRC is working to connect members with The PRIDE Study. iPhone users can join by downloading the PRIDE Study app, and others can register to be notified when the web-based platform becomes available later this year. We invite you to become part of this exciting research. Celebrate LGBT Health Awareness week by downloading the app or signing up for updates about the web platform.