Chicago Drug-Treatment Services Need Programs for LGBT Community; Officials Worried About Drug Use in Spread of HIV
Chicago's drug-treatment services need additional programs, as well as cultural-sensitivity training, to better combat substance use problems within the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, according to a city Department of Public Health report released on Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reports. The report says that illicit substance use in Chicago's gay community is a "significant problem" made worse by "stigma, homophobia, anxiety over AIDS, and the fact that many enter the gay community through the club and party scene," according to the Tribune. Local HIV/AIDS advocates have begun to focus more on illicit drug use following recent concerns about the role of recreational drug use in the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the Tribune reports. The report says that programs addressing LGBT needs are "clearly lacking" and calls for guidelines for service providers on how to address the community's drug problems, according to the Tribune (Briggs, Chicago Tribune, 3/18). "Substance abuse is an ongoing public health challenge that cuts across all lines of income, education, religion, race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation," CDPH Commissioner John Wilhelm said, adding, "Yet we believe that substance abuse numbers may be higher in the LGBT community due to the added challenges of homophobia, isolation, HIV infection and so forth. I congratulate the LGBT community for taking collective and personal responsibility for this important issue" (CDPH release, 3/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.