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ADDED ON: 01/02/2021

Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Veterans Face Elevated Suicide Risks

1/1/2021 | Gay City News

A new report published December 28 on JAMA Network Open found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) veterans are at greater risk of suicide than the general population. Data from more than 96,000 LGB veterans revealed that suicide accounted for 3.8 percent of deaths among LGB veterans in 2017 alone, while suicide accounted for 1.7 percent of deaths in the general US population. Moreover, suicide was ranked fifth on the list of top causes of death among LGB vets in 2017, while it ranked 10th among the general population. åBetween 2000 to 2017, 436 LGB veterans had died of suicide, with men accounting for at least 346 deaths compared with 90 women. Research suggests stigma is a possible factor. Experts pointed to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, “Health Hazards of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which showed that the policy excluding queer service members caused them to hide their sexual history from clinicians. This was detrimental to their sexual health, and because of this, sexually transmitted infections and STDs went undiagnosed, service members and their partners went untreated, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual patients lacked information about HIV and STD prevention. “Compounding effects of minority stress may contribute to excess death by suicide among [LGB] veterans,” wrote researchers.

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