By Lauren Keiper
BOSTON (Reuters) – Gaping holes exist in data on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and more research into their lifestyles is needed for medical authorities to better serve them, a report released on Thursday shows.
The report, authored by the Institute of Medicine and commissioned by the National Institutes of Health, found a staggering lack of research on LGBT individuals.
It lays the groundwork to close that information gap, suggesting more research into social influences, barriers to equitable health care and the differing needs of various generations of LGBT people.
“This is a sea change in establishing the scientific importance of research in LGBT health,” said Dr. Caitlin Ryan, director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University and a contributor to the report.
The report summarized what many experts already know about the population, including that LGB youths are at increased risk for suicide and depression, that HIV-AIDS primarily affects young black men who have sex with other men and that LGBT people are frequently targets of discrimination and violence.
Most practitioners, however, are not well educated in how to care for the LGBT population, including understanding sexual orientation development, gender identity and the impact of stigma and discrimination on health, the report said.
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