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San Diego Hosts World’s Largest LGBT Health Issues Meeting

Audio

Aired 9/22/10

The world's largest health conference that addresses gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues gets underway in San Diego today. Healthy aging for the LGBT community will be one of the topics of conversation at the 28th annual meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

— The world's largest health conference that addresses gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues gets underway in San Diego today. Healthy aging for the LGBT community will be one of the topics of conversation at the 28th annual meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

There's little state or federal research on LGBT seniors. But advocates say they face significant discrimination, stigma, and health disparities.

Seth Kilbourn directs Open House, a San Francisco agency that provides housing for LGBT seniors.

"Older adults who are LGBT tend not to have children," Kilbourn said, "they may be alienated from their families of origin, they tend to be single. And so it's really important that community and medical support is really there for them."

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force estimates there are three million LGBT seniors in the United States.

Kilbourn says more programs designed to deliver care to this population are needed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2015, half of all Americans living with HIV will be over 50. Kilbourn says programs that work with seniors are just beginning to address HIV.

"What I think needs to happen is that the organizations that primarily focus on seniors, need to be talking to the organizations that primarily focus on HIV," he said.

Studies show seniors are sexually active, but safer sex messages rarely target this age group.

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