Patient Resources

Understanding the Health Care Needs of the LGBTQ Community

"I'm so proud that we live in a city that has a hospital that recognized that I was important enough to make us feel at ease"
~ Josh Robbins, Owner of BNA Talent Group

The complex relationships between attraction and behavior that define sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity make the health care needs of every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex patient unique.

Unfortunately, these unique health care needs are often hidden, which can affect both access to care and the quality of care received. This, in turn, can result in preventable, adverse health outcomes, including greater risk for certain diseases and increased rates of suicide and depression.

Your Unique Health Care Needs

LGBTQ patients are at increased risk for a variety of medical conditions and issues, including:

Depression and anxiety
LGBTQ patients are more likely to have depression or anxiety, possibly due to violence, discrimination, or isolation.

Members of the LGBTQ community, especially adolescents, are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse 
LGBTQ patients are more likely to drink or smoke, which can lead to liver disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.

Substance Abuse
Gay and bisexual men and bisexual women are more likely to abuse drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, and amphetamines.

Gay and bisexual men are at increased risk for anal cancers. Lesbian women are at increased risk for breast cancer.

Men who have sex with men are at increased risk for HIV/STIs. Women who have sex with women have higher rates of bacterial vaginosis.

Men who have sex with men are at increased risk for spreading hepatitis A and B viruses and should be vaccinated to prevent disease.

Complications from Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy can have adverse effects for people, including transgender individuals. Hormones should only be taken under medical supervision.

Our Promise to You

At Vanderbilt,

  • you will receive equal, comprehensive, and compassionate care, regardless of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • you define your family. The hospital will not restrict, limit or otherwise deny family presence or visitation privileges on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

When You Visit Us

... be honest with your provider. 
It is our responsibility to provide you with comprehensive health care tailored to meet your needs. We hope that during your visit you will be open and honest with us. This includes letting us know about your sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. 

... give us feedback. 
Let us know how we are doing. Email us at

Vanderbilt HealthPlus

• LGBTQ Resources
• Wellcast - Vanderbilt Cares: What Do I Need to Know as an LGBTQ Patient or as Their Provider?

HIV / AIDS Treatment

The Vanderbilt Comprehensive Care Clinic is a center of excellence in HIV / AIDS care.

External Resources for Patients

* We would like to acknowledge the Institute of Medicine, the Fenway Institute, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and their contribution to these resources.