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Studies have found that families have a range of reactions to their children’s LGBT identity and express their reactions through behaviors that affect their children’s health and mental health outcomes. Research linked family responses with risk and protective factors for key concerns including sexual health, HIV infection, substance use, mental health and wellness. (Family Accecptance Project USFC)
Teen substance abuse, weapon-related violence, suicide attempts and unprotected sexual behavior are certainly among the predominant public health concerns in our nation.. However, these same concerns for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGBT) youth are particularly alarming. As a group, LGBT adolescents appear to be at increased risk for a large number of health and mental health outcomes when compared to their heterosexual peers.
Gay and bisexual male youth are also at risk for a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, as are bisexual females and lesbian youth who have sex with male partners (Ryan & Futterman, 1998).
Other studies have found that these youth experience higher rates of suicide attempts, victimization due to harassment, and violence (Remafedi, French, Story, Resnick & Blum, 1998).
HIV infection (YMSM)
Recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that young men who have sex with men accounted for 34% of all new AIDS cases among 13 to 24-year-olds. Black and Latino sexually active young men are at particular risk for HIV infection ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 2000).
Data released from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health showed that youth who report same-sex attraction or behaviors also reported higher levels of emotional distress, greater use of alcohol and marijuana, and earlier sexual debut (Resnick et al., 1997)
LGBT youth smoke at rates 11-50% higher than their non LGBT peers.
“ Pediatritians should create a clinical environment where adolescents feel safe to discuss sensitive personal issuses, including sexuality and sexual orientation. The overall goal in caring for all youth, including those who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, is the same: to promote normal adolescent development, social and emotional well being, and physical health.”