Large health organizations around the country are sounding the alarm as the number of new cases continue to pile up. There is an open latter from the National LGBT Cancer Network where over 100 different health organizations advise the LGBTQ community that they should be taking extra precautions to avoid the disease. That why you need to know that LGBT Tucsonans have a higher risk of Coronavirus.
Why Do LGBT Tucsonans Have a Higher Risk of Coronavirus?
There are three main reasons why our community is more at risk of Coronavirus. Firstly, statistics show that we are up to 50% more likely to smoke than cisgender heterosexuals. As Coronavirus is a respiratory disease, smoking and possibly e-cigarettes makes recovery from the disease take longer. To be honest, it’s probably a good time to quit.
Secondly, our community suffers from higher rates of both cancer and HIV, both compromising your immune system. The only way to mitigate this is to get tested regularly and if you have HIV, manage it properly. You can make it though these dangerous times.
Lastly, this is probably the part we are most familiar with as factoring into our higher risk of Coronavirus. We face discrimination both overt and subtle, but we are all familiar with the myriad barriers erected in our path to access health care. From patently discriminatory attitudes amongst medical professionals to outright hostility, we have internalized the message and often avoid or delay necessary health care. Then add the two-headed monster of job and housing discrimination, and many of our community don’t even have access to health care.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Things can be done at both the micro and macro level to improve this situation. At the national level, we need opinion leaders and people in positions of power to advocate for equitable treatment and training so health workers can provide better treatment to our community. LGBT health organizations also need to connect with local and regional hospitals to ensure a consistent flow or true information.
In your own homes, I know it’s getting old, but practice social distancing. We have a whole article on things you can do while home alone (FU Coronavirus). Wash your hands whenever you go anywhere and try to limit touching your face, especially mucus membranes like the eyes. Stay smart, stay safe, and stay alive! As always, check the CDC for the most up-do-date (and true) information.