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Health care disparities are preventable gaps in the access to and quality of health care. For the LGBTQ community, these disparities include:

  • Less access to health care
  • Little or no access to preventive care and health screenings
  • Higher rates of discrimination from health care providers

Access to quality health care is especially important for LGBTQ individuals. They are at higher risk for mental health issues, suicide, drug and alcohol use, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Why Do LGBTQ Health Care Disparities Exist?

People who identify as LGBTQ may be less likely to access quality medical care for a variety of reasons that often form a vicious cycle:

  • Fear of stigma, discrimination, or poor treatment, and/or prior negative experiences with health providers
  • Higher rates of poverty, making it more difficult to afford health insurance or care
  • Lack of culturally competent providers with knowledge of LGBTQ health
  • Refusal of care due to gender identity or sexual orientation
  • For transgender and many nonbinary individuals, lower rates of health insurance coverage

Resources to Help Address LGBTQ Health Care Disparities

Many local and national resources exist to address these gaps in care and support the health needs of our LGBTQ community.

UPMC resources

UPMC Health Plan: Our member services support team is trained and dedicated to explaining coverage to all individuals no matter their gender orientation or health needs.

Pittsburgh AIDS Center for Treatment: Through the Pittsburgh AIDS Center, we provide HIV treatment and social support services to more than 1,700 adults infected with HIV.

UPMC Children’s Gender and Sexual Development Program: We serve children and youth through age 26 with questions around gender and sexual identity and transgender care.

Additional local resources

Persad Center: A human service organization whose mission is to improve the well-being of the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

PFLAG Pittsburgh: Built on a foundation of loving families united with LGBTQ people and allies who support one another.

National resources

CDC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health

Human Rights Campaign

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging

Hotlines

Trevor Lifeline

Trans Lifeline

LGBTQ+ National Help Center Hotlines

We are dedicated to providing inclusive, quality health care for our LGBTQ community members and their families. Learn more about UPMC Children’s Gender and Sexual Development Program or call 412-692-6677 to make an appointment.

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.