Members of the LGBT community are at greater risk of of experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Thursday.
According to the report, the CDC found that members of the LGBT community are more likely to have underlying health conditions that put them at an increased risk to contract the coronavirus and experience severe symptoms of the disease.
The report used data from the 2017-2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a collection of health surveys that gathers demographic and health-related information from noninstitutionalized U.S. residents over the age of 18 to determine health disparities.
“When age, sex, and survey year are adjusted, sexual minority persons have higher prevalences than do heterosexual persons of self-reported cancer, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease (including myocardial infarction, angina, or coronary heart disease), obesity, smoking, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and stroke,” the report states.
The report adds that racial and ethnic minority groups who are also members of the LGBT community are at an increased risk of experiencing severe coronavirus symptoms compared to their heterosexual counterparts. In addition, members of the LGBT community are more likely to experience discrimination and stigmatization that may increase their risk of illness and limit their access to proper health care, according to the agency.
“Persons who are members of both sexual minority and racial/ethnic minority groups might therefore experience a convergence of distinct social, economic, and environmental disadvantages that increase chronic disease disparities and the risk for adverse COVID-19–related outcomes,” the report concluded.
Since the early stages of the pandemic, the CDC has stated that those who have underlying health conditions, including older adults and the immunosuppressed, are at an increased risk of experiencing harsher symptoms and even death as a result of coronavirus.
The agency has also released data stating that Americans of color are up to almost three times as likely than white Americans to die from the coronavirus.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT rights organization, released data in 2020 that echoed these findings from the CDC.
The report released by the organization stated that members of the LGBT community were at increased risk of contracting the disease due to a number of factors such as working jobs with high COVID-19 exposure, a wealth gap and lack of health coverage.
“This report affirms what LGBTQ advocates and organizations have known all along: that our community is at greater risk and disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Alphonso David, president of the HRC. “It is critical that health disparities in marginalized communities are fully captured by government data collection so they can be swiftly addressed.”
The authors of the CDC’s Thursday report stated that the current “COVID-19 surveillance systems” do not capture information about sexual orientation and called for more data to be collected on the LGBT community and the coronavirus.