Discrimination and Delayed Health Care Among Transgender Women and Men: Implications for Improving Medical Education and Health Care Delivery

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Medical care


BACKGROUND: The transgender community experiences health care discrimination and approximately 1 in 4 transgender people were denied equal treatment in health care settings. Discrimination is one of the many factors significantly associated with health care utilization and delayed care.

OBJECTIVES: We assessed factors associated with delayed medical care due to discrimination among transgender patients, and evaluated the relationship between perceived provider knowledge and delayed care using Anderson's behavioral model of health services utilization.

RESEARCH DESIGN: Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to test whether predisposing, enabling, and health system factors were associated with delaying needed care for transgender women and transgender men.

SUBJECTS: A sample of 3486 transgender participants who took part in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey in 2008 and 2009.

MEASURES: Predisposing, enabling, and health system environment factors, and delayed needed health care.

RESULTS: Overall, 30.8% of transgender participants delayed or did not seek needed health care due to discrimination. Respondents who had to teach health care providers about transgender people were 4 times more likely to delay needed health care due to discrimination.

CONCLUSIONS: Transgender patients who need to teach their providers about transgender people are significantly more likely to postpone or not seek needed care. Systemic changes in provider education and training, along with health care system adaptations to ensure appropriate, safe, and respectful care, are necessary to close the knowledge and treatment gaps and prevent delayed care with its ensuing long-term health implications.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Adult; Cross-Sectional Studies; Delivery of Health Care; Education, Medical; Female; Healthcare Disparities; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Prejudice; Quality Improvement; Transgender Persons; United States; Young Adult

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