Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, historically minoritized and marginalized groups in the United States have been disproportionately impacted by the disease. This includes the lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community who potentially face greater risk of COVID-19 exposure and associated outcomes due to economic and health disparities, with greater risk for LGBTQ+ people of color.

Preliminary studies have shown that LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to work in jobs affected by COVID-19 and reported higher prevalence of severe underlying health conditions associated with severe outcomes from COVID-19. During the pandemic, they have been especially vulnerable to poor mental health consequences, partially due to barriers in access to health care due to stigma, including COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

As the United States continues to battle COVID-19 while also expanding its vaccination efforts, it is critical to understand the long-term financial and mental health burden of COVID-19 among the LGBTQ+ population and determine their attitudes, acceptance, and hesitancy of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In response, ICAP at Columbia University, with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, is conducting an online survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ persons in New York City (NYC).

As existing surveillance systems may not well capture this community’s behaviors and perceptions, this survey will provide greater insight on the burden of COVID-19 disease, use of COVID-19 preventative behaviors, and COVID-19 vaccine willingness, access, and uptake among LGBTQ+ persons in NYC. The LGBTQ+ Experience in COVID-19 NY (LEXICON) study will also explore associations between socio-demographic factors and COVID-19 vaccination knowledge, attitudes, and practices.

Launching during Pride Month in June, and being carried out over the next three months, the LEXICON survey will target self-identified LGBTQ+ adults, aged 18 and older, of various ages, races/ethnicities, income levels, and HIV status, to complete the online survey.

ICAP, through its Harlem and Bronx Prevention Centers, is closely collaborating with community-based organizations to share recruitment materials and encourage individuals to participate and share the survey with friends and other members of the LGBTQ+ community in NYC.

“We are truly excited to launch the LEXICON study as a platform to reach and understand, in more detail, the experiences LGBTQ+ persons in New York City are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrea Low, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator of the LEXICON Study. “We hope the results of this study will encourage community-based organizations and public health planners to equitably tailor their response and allocate adequate resources to reach the LGBTQ+ community.”

About ICAP

A major global health organization that has been improving public health in countries around the world for nearly two decades, ICAP works to transform the health of populations through innovation, science, and global collaboration. Based at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, ICAP has projects in more than 30 countries, working side-by-side with ministries of health and local governmental, non-governmental, academic, and community partners to confront some of the world’s greatest health challenges. Through evidence-informed programs, meaningful research, tailored technical assistance, effective training and education programs, and rigorous surveillance to measure and evaluate the impact of public health interventions, ICAP aims to realize a global vision of healthy people, empowered communities, and thriving societies.

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