CAP is proudly taking part in the Health Equity Can’t Wait! blog carnival celebrating National Minority Health Month. Participating bloggers are health, consumer, civil rights, and provider advocates committed to promoting health equity. You can find all the posts for the carnival here.
In America today, an African-American baby is still twice as likely as a white baby to die before her first birthday. More than 30 percent of Latinos in the U.S. are uninsured, compared to 12 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Despite advances in HIV prevention and treatment, gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are still disproportionately likely to become infected with HIV and to die from AIDS.
Clearly, race and ethnicity matter in health. So do gender, poverty, and ability. So too do sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics linked to discrimination or exclusion.
And according to Senator Daniel Akaka, who introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act yesterday in the Senate to build on the advances of the Affordable Care Act, “glaring health disparities based on racial and ethnic identity alone…are further exacerbated by factors such as socioeconomics, geography, and sexual orientation and [gender] identity.”
Areas of intersection between sexual orientation, gender identity, and other disparity factors include mental health concerns linked to minority stress, such as depression, anxiety, and suicide; higher rates of smoking and other substance use; and greater risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Fear of mistreatment from health care providers who are not familiar with culturally competent care for different minority populations also prevents many people from accessing vital health services and compounds the seriousness of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.