LGBT health comprises not only unique challenges, but also varying rates for prevalence and incidence of certain diseases. Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. In addition, subsets of the LGBT population face unique issues. Research suggests that many physicians feel comparatively unprepared to holistically care for the LGBT population and that disparities exist in the health care of these patients. These studies demonstrated that in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts, LGBT patients either received substandard care or were denied care due to their sexual orientation.
Census estimates that there are approximately 250,000 LGBT adults living in North Carolina, representing 3.3% of population. This is considered an underestimation due to fear of disclosure and lack of consistency in asking about sexual orientation and gender identity. The LGBT community of North Carolina faces several disparities including 48% of the population living with a household income below $24,000 and 35% reporting not having enough money for food. Further, 30% of this population reports not having enough money for health care.
There is a need for medical professionals to incorporate LGBTQ+ advocacy and research into their professional development, to not only allow for advancements within medicine, but also to serve as positive role models for more junior LGBTQ+ individuals in medicine.