The LGBTQ+ community says it would like more discussion and advocacy when it comes to health care access.

According to the New York State Department of Health, in 2021, there was an estimated 7.1% of the population who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or about 23 million people.

The DOH also says that stigma and discrimination against this community can lead to chronic stress and issues such as anxiety and high blood pressure, leading to poor mental and physical health. Also, the members of this community are at greater risk of substance abuse and suicide.

In the Capital Region, the Alliance for Positive Health has been fighting this stigma against the LGBTQ+ community, with a focus on prevention and education. It serves 15 counties in Northeastern New York.

The program manager of the organization, Ifeachor Potts, says workers are trying to bridge the gap between the LGBTQ+ and the medical communities.

“We had a client of trans experience who was pregnant and identifies as he/him, and they were pregnant,” Potts said. “And so we needed to make sure that when that client showed up at the OB/GYN, that they would not be stared at or, you know, wouldn’t be asked an unnecessary amount of questions.”

This gap delays important and lifesaving health screenings like HIV testing. The Alliance for Positive Health offers free testing for HIV and other STDs every Wednesday and encourages all to take control of their sexual health.

You can find more information on the Alliance website.