This study analyzed the physical health status of adults who belong to a sexual or gender minority (SGM) population, and whether health inequities correlate with access to quality healthcare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2014–2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) included data for 64,696 adults who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, other, and/or transgender and 1,369,681 adults who identified as cisgender and straight. Multivariable logistic regressions of the weighted sample were conducted to examine associations between demographics and health and access outcomes. After accounting for demographic variables, drinking, and smoking behavior, SGM respondents reported poorer physical and mental health, which worsened after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. SGM respondents had higher odds than non-SGM of having asthma, arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as difficulties “see[ing] the doctor because of cost,” particularly after the start of the COVID pandemic. SGM respondents had higher odds of lack of access to healthcare provider, delayed medical care, and issues taking medications due to cost and fewer routine checkups. Thus, the SGM group faced worse health and higher rates of some chronic conditions. This study found a significant relationship with cost barriers attributable to larger societal discrimination regarding SGM individuals, particularly in the workplace. Further research exploring these results is critical, but these findings have identified areas of healthcare inequity to be addressed via preventative health efforts in both public health and primary care settings.
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
- Health equity