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Key Clinical Updates in Health Care for Lesbian & Bisexual Women

One study of 150 lesbian, bisexual, and queer women offered preliminary evidence that social support, resilience, and self-esteem help foster body appreciation, which might be protective against mental health concerns and disordered eating.

A report demonstrated significantly better reproductive outcomes after reciprocal in vitro fertilization (IVF), with a clinical pregnancy rate of 60% compared with 40% after autologous IVF, and live birth rate of 57.1% in reciprocal IVF versus 29.8% in autologous IVF. However, both partners of the couple need to be willing to participate in reciprocal IVF.

Burnette CB et al. Health Equity. [PMID 31289784]

Núñez A et al. LGBT Health. [PMID: 34061679]

Cisgender lesbian and bisexual women are addressed together in this section since most medical literature does not delineate clearly enough between lesbian and bisexual cisgender women. Current medical literature also does not sufficiently consider the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity to evaluate the specific health needs and concerns of lesbian and bisexual women who are of gender diverse experiences, nor is there sufficient research in the experiences of other SM women (ie, those who identify as pansexual, queer, asexual) to understand the current health needs of these individuals (although the few existing studies are included here). In the United States, women in same-sex couples are less likely to have primary care providers, get non-urgent medical care when needed, see a specialist, and feel that doctors spent enough time with them. Healthcare access is even more restricted at the intersection of sexual orientation, gender, race, and ethnicity. A 2021 study of Black and Latinx SM gender expansive women found that barriers to accessing care were linked to income and discrimination by providers. This is true worldwide with variability depending on the local sociopolitical climate. In countries with more restrictive laws and policies, health disparities are likely greater. A study in Lebanon noted that significantly more SM women reported having trouble accessing health care than heterosexual women, and a meta-analysis of southern African countries outlined the unique health challenges faced by SM women, including social exclusion and invisibility, criminalization, and systematic homophobic sexual assault. Limited clinician training likely exacerbates the lack of preparedness to care for SM women.

Cerezo  A  et al. Healthcare access and health-related cultural norms in a community sample of Black and Latinx sexual minority gender expansive women. J Homosex. 2021 Nov 29. [Epub ahead of print]
[PubMed: 34842502]
Gereige  JD  et al. The sexual health of women in Lebanon: are there differences by sexual orientation? LGBT Health. 2018;5:45.
[PubMed: 29130791]  
Muller  A  et al. Making the invisible visible: a systematic review of sexual minority women's health in Southern Africa. BMC Public Health. 2016;16:307.
[PubMed: 27066890]  


Health disparities exist across the life span for ...

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