As the worldwide spread of COVID-19 has spiraled into a pandemic, national health organizations are warning that some members of the LGBTQ community may be “particularly vulnerable” to the effects of the virus.
While LGBTQ individuals have not been found to be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, some health habits within the community,including significantly higher rates of smoking than the general population, have raised concern among health professionals.
Over 100 different national organizations,including Whitman-Walker Health and SAGE, have signed a letter created by the LGBT Cancer Network to bring attention to several factors that could mean the LGBTQ community is at a greater risk of complications from COVID-19, including:
- LGBTQ people smoke at rates 50% higher than the general population, which could be detrimental if a respiratory illness like COVID-19 is contracted.
- Higher rates of HIV and cancer in the LGBTQ community means that a greater number of people may have compromised immune systems, which leaves them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections.
- Health care discrimination in America, including denial of care, unwelcoming attitudes and lack of understanding from staff and providers means LGBTQ people may be more reluctant to seek medical care.
Read more on USA Today.