Bisexuals Face Heightened Risk for Cancer, STIs, and Depression

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Bisexual adults face physical, mental, and sexual health disparities at alarming rates, says a report from the Human Rights Campaign. Health Disparities Among Bisexual People was published in preparation for Bisexual Awareness Week, which started Monday, and Wednesday's Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

The study highlights the bisexual health crisis. 

"Bisexual people are the largest single group within the LGBT community, but we're not addressing their specific healthcare needs,” says Tari Hanneman, deputy director of the Health and Aging Program at the HRC Foundation.

“The reality is that bisexual people face discrimination not only outside of our community, but also from within. And that can discourage them from engaging in and benefiting from the work that LGBT advocates are doing to address our mental, physical, and sexual health."

Issues faced by bisexuals include elevated rates of cancer, heart disease, obesity, sexually transmitted infections, and mental health. Bisexual adults largely suffer from depression, substance abuse, and self-harm and suicide attempts at alarming rates. Additionally, bisexual women are at the highest rates of cancer, obesity, and emotional distress of the general population of women. Bisexual men, on the other hand, are disproportionately affected by infection of HIV, human papillomavirus, and other sexually transmitted infections.

"Healthcare providers sometimes make assumptions about patients' identities based on their current or recent partners, and bisexual people often face outright discrimination when they come out in healthcare settings,” Hanneman says. “That can lead bisexual people to delay or avoid seeking care or not disclose their identities to their providers. This can mean that medical professionals are not getting an accurate picture of what that patient's sexual health needs are, or the mental or physical health concerns for which they may face heightened risk."

The report calls for better education on bisexual specific needs from both LGBT activists and healthcare provides. It also encourages bisexual people to seek out competent medical professionals and to come out to their health care physicians for best treatment. 

Read the full report here.

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