Pride in practice: Equality in access to health services for the LGBT community in a third-world country

LGBT

(Andrew Jay, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Mabel Guerrero and Ms. Claudia Suero, two second-year medical students at the Iberoamerican University (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The LGBT community, also called the gay community, includes the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and subcultures that are joined together by common social movements and culture. This community celebrates sexuality, individuality, pride and most important, the diversity. LGBT has been associated with many symbols that reflect what they really are and want to express, including rainbows and rainbow flags. They represent the diversity, a rage of different things, ideals and social acceptance in spite of the sexual orientation.

The diversity of this community has led this population to face discrimination, violence and other human rights transgression worldwide because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. All of these partisanship are influenced largely by the stigma that some people still have against them, and the lack of acceptance that regardless of the sexual orientation we all have inalienable rights. Despite that fact that all individuals have the right to health, this community is confronting different situations where their rights have been interrupted. Today, they are still fighting for this rights on different areas that include good services, equal employment opportunities, registered partnerships for couples, children adoption and last but not least, the right to have the same access to medical care and treatments (1).

Even though health is a human right, this community has been afflicted by the marked exclusion and violation of fundamental human rights, especially for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders (LGBT) community present in many counties, particularly those known as third-world nations. This situation is reflected in the lack of access to health services by that population of this minority social group.

Nowadays, over one third of LGBT individuals reported experiencing bias or discrimination from a healthcare provider, and about a third also reported that they do not discuss their sexual identity with their healthcare provider, resulting in a additional medical risk factor (2).

On account of the Dominican Republic, an underdeveloped country, a public opinion study on Gender Inequality, Reproductive Health and Discrimination against Sexual Minorities and People with HIV, conducted by UNAIDS in 2015 indicates that 85% have been discriminated in healthcare centers. Some examples of conduct of rejection and discrimination listed included denial of services, speak contemptuously, teasing, and public humiliation. Furthermore, the reduction in attendance and the subsequent search for assistance by the LGBT community is a result of the marginalization in health services which reduces the chance of developing educational a preventive health work for them, which will limit the approach to certain diseases that are very common in this group, such as syphilis, hepatitis B, depression, anxiety, and HIV (3).

For this reason, it is necessary to train the healthcare personnel to properly address patients in the LGBT community through guidelines on how to use an inclusive language that respects different sexual orientations and gender identities, and to be aware that patients may have been subjected to unequal treatment throughout their life, due to financial, social and health situations. These considerations must be implemented nationwide, especially in countries known to have a strong conservative culture, and where the healthcare personnel may be predisposed to this population, making it difficult to deliver proper health services. Finally, we consider that it is vital for physicians to remember that all people have the right to quality health services, regardless of their sexual preferences, ideals or appearance.

References

  1. Whitman L. The State of LGBT Human Rights Worldwide [Internet]. Amnesty International USA. 2019 [cited 28 June 2019]. Available from: https://www.amnestyusa.org/the-state-of-lgbt-rights-worldwide/
  2. Richards, S. (2012) Gay and bisexual men ‘neglected’ by primary health services. Practical Nurse, 42 (8), 7.
  3. Milles A. Problemas de salud de los jóvenes homosexuales [Internet]. HealthyChildren.org. 2019 [cited 28 June 2019]. Available from: https://www.healthychildren.org/spanish/ages-stages/teen/dating-sex/paginas/health-concerns-for-gay-and-lesbian-teens.aspx

About the author

Mabel Guerrero is a second-year medical student at the Iberoamerican University (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She serves as an active member of Standing Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights including HIV and AIDS (SCORA) of IFMSA-Dominican Republic (ODEM). She has a profound passion for volunteering, medicine and science. She also is an active member of the UNIBE Gynecology and Obstetrics Interest Group (GOING).

Claudia Suero is a second-year medical student at the Iberoamerican University (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She serves as an active member of the Standing
Committee of Professional Exchanges (SCOPE) of ODEM-Dominican Republic. Since a year ago she is part of the Biology area at UNIBE as a monitor. She is passionate about helping other people and teaching medicine.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Middle East needs a technological revolution. Start-ups can lead the way

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

The next start-up cities that will transform the global economy

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Embracing the diversity in a multicultural city of Romania

What meat consumption has brought to the environment and how herbal diets can help human health

State aid: Commission approves close to €94 million support for waste-to-energy high-efficient cogeneration plant in Bulgaria

These are the 10 most in-demand skills of 2019, according to LinkedIn

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

Why our future relies on more inclusive and transparent innovation

Everything you need to know about the US government shutdown

Protecting citizens’ access to social security in case of no-deal Brexit

Japan to invest in euro values

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

France-Germany: Divided in Europe, USA united in…Iran

This wristband tells you what food to buy based on your DNA

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

Supercomputing could solve the world’s problems, and create many more

What the future holds for the EU – China relations?

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

Acute food insecurity ‘far too high’ UN agency warns, as 113 million go hungry

This is the biggest risk we face with AI, by Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Shenzhen just made all its buses electric, and taxis are next

International World Summit Award calls for outstanding digital applications with impact on society from 178 UN member states

Mergers: Commission clears E.ON’s acquisition of Innogy, subject to conditions

Flying high: how India could lead the world in drones

Rule of law: First Annual Report on the Rule of Law situation across the European Union

One more country to test the EU project: Kaczynski’s Poland

Around 600,000 Afghan children face death through malnutrition without emergency funds: UNICEF

Here are four ways ASEAN can help entrepreneurs thrive – especially women

ITU Telecom World 2018 takes place in Durban, South Africa

Human trafficking cases hit a 13-year record high, new UN report shows

Realise the beauty of unity in diversity

This NATO experiment used fake Facebook accounts to trick soldiers into sharing sensitive information

Syria: UN chief warns Idlib offensive may set off ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

COVID-19 pandemic: The war inside our heads

COVID-19: research package welcomed, EU needs to be better equipped in future

Coronavirus global response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Iraq and new funding

Look no hands: self-driving vehicles’ public trust problem

Thursday’s Daily Brief: dire living conditions in Idlib, migrants at US southern border, end in sight for trachoma, Human Rights Council

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths

Globalization 4.0 must build a better world for working people

Half of Eurozone in deflation expecting salvation from monetary measures

Understanding our own garden that we call mind

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: There is a new draft agreement on the negotiating table

No end to Deutsche Bank’s problems: new litigations in the US and frailty in EU stress test

A Sting Exclusive: Paris Climate Change Summit, a defining moment for humanity, by Ulf Björnholm Head of UNEP Brussels

Universal Health Coverage in the EU: Are we really leaving no one behind?

Why Africa must be ready to take the quantum leap

Fighting cybercrime – what happens to the law when the law cannot be enforced?

‘Revved up climate action’ needed to counter ‘prolonged’ and deadly storms like Cyclone Idai: Guterres

Ukraine: €8 million in humanitarian aid to withstand winter

The silent epidemic that is three times as deadly as COVID

These clothes were designed by artificial intelligence

Who is first (and last) in the race to build a workforce fit for the future?

A Europe that protects: EU customs seized over 31 million fake goods at EU borders in 2017

COVID-19: What the evidence so far means for containment

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s