Health disparities exist for many groups of people, especially in the CHD community.  These disparities may be based on race, socioeconomic or educational status, or sexual orientation and gender identity. Patients and families who are also part of the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to face additional disparities in their CHD care.

In the U.S. the month of June is celebrated as Pride Month. For patients and family members who are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community, significant disparities are present in the healthcare system. Part of the work in eliminating such disparities is acknowledging them and educating the larger CHD community.

What does this have to do with CHD?

CHD does not discriminate. With nearly 3.3 million children and adults living with CHD in the United State, a large part of CHD patients and families are also part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Conquering CHD exists to conquer the most common birth defect and to create visibility and empower all impacted by CHD.

What kind of disparities to LGBTQIA+ patients experience?

LGBTQIA+ individuals and families are:

  • Less likely to have health insurance 
  • Less likely to have a regular health care provider
  • More likely to receive health care services in emergency rooms
  • More likely to delay or not getting needed prescription medicines
  • At greater risk for mental health issues, substance abuse, and addiction
  • More likely to delay getting care or not seeking care at all when it is needed
  • More likely to report poor quality of care and unfair treatment by healthcare providers
  • More likely to report their health as poor and report more chronic conditions, typically with less social support

For those who are also CHD patients and family members, this means they are less likely to receive necessary congenital heart care and are more likely to fall out of care as they age. While CHD patients are at a greater risk of mental health concerns already, LGBTQIA+ patients are at an even greater risk. 

What causes these disparities? 

There a number of reasons for health disparities faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, including a lack of education and training for health care providers, lack of clinical research on health issues specific to the population, limited or no health benefits, fear of stigma, discrimination, or institutional bias from health care providers or within health care systems.

What’s next?

Conquering CHD is committed to closing the gaps wherever health disparities exist, whether they are based on race, socioeconomic status, educational level, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Join us on social media (@conqueringchd) as we dive deeper into health disparities over the next several months.

Interested in learning more?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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