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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for continued action to eradicate trafficking in human beings

Syria: Urgent, concrete actions needed, to protect children too young to ‘make sense of this senseless war’

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

Climate negotiations on the road to a strong Paris agreement rulebook

UN spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean

Barcelona’s ‘superblocks’ could save lives and cut pollution, says report

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

Will the end of QE come along with ECB’s inflation target?

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change-the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, yet overlooked in climate negotiations?” IFMSA wonders from COP21 in Paris

EU to Telcos: Stop Mergers and Acquisitions but please help me urgently with 5G development

Eurozone stagnates after exporting its recession to trading partners

Parliament approves €34m in EU aid to Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria

Can alternatives to rhino horn save these gentle giants?

Draghi keeps the euro cheap, helps debt refinancing, recapitalization of banks and growth

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

Strong multilateral institutions key to tackling world’s dramatic challenges, UN chief says In Moscow

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

OECD will follow Canadian proceedings addressing allegations of political interference in foreign bribery prosecution

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

IMF: When high yield goes boom

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

EU trade agreements deliver on growth and jobs, support sustainable development

Ukraine takes EU money and runs to sign with Russia

Cryptocurrency mining could become the new face of energy storage. Here’s how

COP25: MEPs push for CO2 neutrality by 2050

‘At risk’ Mediterranean forests make ‘vital contributions’ to development

The eight types of AI you should know about

Prospect of lasting peace ‘fading by the day’ in Gaza and West Bank, senior UN envoy warns

Is the English language too powerful?

Essential services on verge of shutdown in Gaza as emergency fuel set to run out

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

Your next pair of sneakers could be made from coffee

Syrian civilians must be protected amid ISIL executions and airstrikes: Bachelet

Sponsored content: when QUALITY meets OPEX in manufacturing

European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK following its failure to name a candidate for EU Commissioner

In aftermath of Libya airstrike deaths, UN officials call for refugees and migrants to be freed from detention

Siege of Syria’s eastern Ghouta ‘barbaric and medieval’, says UN Commission of Inquiry

Big data is coming to agriculture. Farmers must set its course

Over 40 million people still victims of slavery

How tech can help businesses balance profit and purpose

This digital currency could build a more sustainable global economy

Israel @ MWC14: Israel The Start App Nation

Why social working cultures are happier and more productive

New UN report on families in a changing world puts ‘women’s rights at their core’

Education in Emergencies: EU announces record humanitarian funding for 2019 and launches #RaiseYourPencil Campaign

MEPs call for decisive action to fight inequalities in the EU

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

South Sudan: ‘Horrific acts’ by government may constitute ‘war crimes’ says UN, demanding justice

Faith can overcome religious nationalism. Here’s how

Amid troop build-up in Rohingya’s home state, UN appeals to Myanmar for peaceful solution

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

INTERVIEW: ‘Defend the people, not the States’, says outgoing UN human rights chief

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

Why this is the year we must take action on mental health

Drinking coffee could help you live longer, research finds

Europe’s top court hears Intel and sends € 1.06 bn antitrust fine to review

IMF: Sorry Greece it was a mistake of 11% of your GDP

Countries must make teaching profession more financially and intellectually attractive

Not enough resettlement solutions for refugees worldwide, says UN

More Stings?

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