Mautner Project marks national heart month
The Mautner Project for Lesbian Health on Monday launched a national heart-health awareness campaign for lesbians and bisexual women, titled "The Heart Truth for Lesbians," that aims to educate gay women and their health care providers about the specific cardiovascular health risks lesbians face. "Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women in the United States, and lesbians may be at even greater risk than heterosexual women," says Mautner Project executive director Kathleen DeBold. Many of the factors that increase a woman's risk for heart disease, such as obesity, smoking, and lack of exercise, are more common among lesbians. Stress is also a major risk cardiac factor for women, and lesbians bear the added stress of antigay discrimination, DeBold says. There are also many barriers, including lack of health insurance, provider ignorance, and institutionalized homophobia, that keep lesbians from receiving fair and equal access to quality health care. The Mautner Project's "Heart Truth for Lesbians" is a registered activity of the Department of Health and Human Services' "Heart Truth" campaign for women, though the group has received no government funding. Mautner staff members also are working with the Web site GayHealth.com to promote the heart-health campaign.