Monday, April 11, 2011
Disparities: Illness More Prevalent Among Older Gay Adults
By RONI CARYN RABIN Published: April 1, 2011
Older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in
are more likely to suffer from chronic physical and mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts, a new analysis has found. They also are less likely to have live-in partners or adult children who can help care for them. California
Related :U.S. Panel Suggests Research Into Causes and Prevalence of Health Issues Facing Gays (April 1, 2011)
The research brief was based on data from the California Health Interview Survey gathered in 2003, 2005 and 2007 by the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Older gay and bisexual men — ages 50 to 70 — reported higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and physical disability than similar heterosexual men. Older gay and bisexual men also were 45 percent more likely to report psychological distress and 50 percent more likely to rate their health as fair or poor. In addition, one in five gay men in
was living with H.I.V. infection, the researchers found. Yet half of older gay and bisexual men lived alone, compared with 13.4 percent of older heterosexual men. California
Older lesbian and bisexual women experienced similar rates of diabetes and hypertension compared with straight women of their age, but reported significantly more physical disabilities and psychological distress and were 26 percent more likely to say their health was fair or poor.
More than one in four lived alone, compared with only one in five heterosexual women.
Steven P. Wallace, associate director of the U.C.L.A.
Center for Health Policy Research and lead author of the brief, said it was important to raise awareness of these disparities. “The gay culture tends to be youth-driven, and the aging community network doesn’t usually think about gay and lesbian elders,” he said.
A version of this article appeared in print on April 5, 2011, on page D7 of the
edition. New York