Why we need Community Leaders
There are many health issues that disproportionately affect lesbian,gay and bisexual people or affect us in a particularly unique way. It’s important to help educate ourselves and others about our community’s experience of certain health issues.
Below is a list of some of these issues that often require knowledge and understanding of how LGB people may need certain support and information. Use the links to find out more.
LGB Mental Health & Wellbeing
The lesbian, gay and bisexual communities generally experience poorer mental health than the wider population. This is often due to a number of external factors people face because of society’s negative attitudes towards their sexual orientation, including: homophobia, discrimination, bullying and hate crimes.
Gay & Bisexual Men's Sexual Health
Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) are at increased risk of specific STIs including, but not limited to: Gonorrhoea,Syphilis,HIV,Hepatitis A and B ,Chlamydia -in particularChlamydia trachomatis which is responsible for causing Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV).
The number of men who have sex with men living in England diagnosed with HIV has increased each year, having more than doubled in the last ten years Research in 2012 of almost 7,000 UK gay and bisexual men found that 30% of these men have never been tested for HIV, despite early diagnosis of HIV being a public health priority.
Men who have sex with men are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A and hepatitis B through sexual exposure. Many men are unaware of the risks and the potentially dangerous consequences of contracting either hepatitis A, B or C.
Lesbian & Bisexual Women's Sexual Health
Many women who have sex with women will never have received any information on sexual health that is relevant to them and do not always realise they are at risk and will not feel it necessary to access regular check-ups.
Drugs, Alcohol & Smoking
Research shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people tend to use substances more often and for a longer period of time than the general population.
Some research suggests that lesbian and bisexual women are at greater risk of developing eating disorders others fail to conclude whether rates are higher than in the wider population. The evidence around the prevalence of eating disorders in gay and bisexual shows that they are significantly more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than heterosexual men.
Research has found that LGB people experience similar levels of domestic violence to heterosexual people, yet most people think in terms of domestic violence experienced by heterosexual women. As a result, domestic violence in LGB communities can remain hidden locally, as well as nationally.
The prevalence of cervical cancer amongst lesbian and bisexual females compared to heterosexual females is believed to be similar, however many women who have sex with women have been erroneously advised they are not at risk of cervical cancer and therefore do not need screens.
Research indicates that lesbian and bisexual (LB) women could be at greater risk of breast cancer .For example LB women are less likely to have had children, are more likely to drink alcohol, and are more likely to smoke, which are all lifestyle behaviours that increase the risk of breast cancer.
Although anal cancer is rare it is generally more common in women, although men who have sex with men are also at increased risk of anal cancer compared to the general population.
The main treatments available for prostate cancer can have side effects which affect gay and bisexual men differently to heterosexual men. Some research indicates that gay and bisexual men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be reluctant to disclose their sexuality to health professionals and may not be getting the appropriate support or information that they need.