A Consequence of Health Disparities: Depression Among Sexual Minorities

According to this study examining sexual minority patients, depression can be a consequence of health and behavioral disparities.

CONFERENCE REPORTER


Kafi Friday, BA, PharmD candidate 2023; and Prashant Sakharkar, PharmD, MPH, shared their poster “Examining Health Disparities and Level of Depression among Sexual Minorities: A Population based Cross-sectional Study” at the American Pharmacists Association 2022 Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Friday and Sakharkar argued that sexual minorities, or individuals with nonheterosexual sexual orientation, face increasing challenges in achieving health equity, due to stigma and discrimination.1 In a retrospective cohort study, the investigators sought to examine health disparities and level of depression among sexual minorities; compare the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections, smoking, illicit drug use, and alcohol use in use in sexual minorities; and determine predictors of depression among sexual minorities.

The study’s results painted a grim picture for sexual minorities: sexual minorities were 3 times more likely to have gonorrhea and chlamydia infection, 65% more likely to use illicit drugs, 52% more likely to be a smoker, 3 times more likely to experience severe depression, and 2 times more likely to see a mental health clinician.

These findings suggest that depression can be a consequence of health and behavioral disparities. Screening—particularly in females who identify as a sexual minority, smoke, use illicit drugs, are under the age of 45, and are poor—might help in early intervention. Furthermore, future research should examine the association of depression, gender, and sexual minority status.

Reference

1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and

Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice;

Committee on Community Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the

United States; Baciu A, Negussie Y, Geller A, et al. Communities in

Action: Pathways to Health Equity. National Academies Press; 2017.