Survey: LGBTQ Community Health-Care Access Needs Improvement
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Advocates said a first-of-its-kind survey of the health and human-service needs of Connecticut's LGBTQ community, published this month, showed there is still work to be done to ensure the community is safe and has inclusive access to essential services.
The report was released by the LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, a subcommittee of the Connecticut Commission on Women.
Among the findings, two-thirds of respondents reported concerns about access to health care, including worries the services would not be LGBTQ-friendly.
Patrick Dunn, executive director of the New Haven Pride Center, said it creates barriers to receiving health care, and he hopes the data can inform LGBTQ-affirming solutions.
"So every day I can see people walking in the center looking for food, looking for housing, experiencing discrimination in health care," Patrick Dunn observed. "It's such a relief to have this kind of information that we can literally go to funders, we can go to legislators, we can go to different bodies, and go to donors and say, 'Hey, here's your proof. Look.'"
More than 3,000 Connecticut residents completed the survey, with the largest number of respondents coming from New Haven, Hartford and Fairfield counties. The survey also found 68% said they had someone to talk to about LGBTQ-specific challenges.
The survey noted 70% of respondents have been tested for HIV. Of the 30% who didn't get tested, 85% said they felt it was unlikely they were exposed.
John Merz, CEO of Advancing Connecticut Together, which focuses on HIV/AIDS issues, said it is a sign outreach is working.
"So I think the good news is that folks in the LGBTQ community have accessed testing in their lifetime," Merz explained. "It's still a really good picture that's being painted that we've worked long and hard to encourage people to be tested if they feel like they might have put themselves at risk."
As part of the LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, grant funding is available for organizations serving the LGBTQ community to implement sensitivity training as well as changes to advance services. The network hopes to release a Request for Proposals by next spring.
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