LGBT people are likely worried about the potential impact of COVID-19 on their health. People at particular risk should talk to their health providers about their options for protecting themselves from infection.
Updated January 25, 2021
What is Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center doing?
Our organization prioritizes health promotion and health equity for the LGBT community, so we are taking COVID-19 seriously and are taking the following precautionary measures:
- All in-person programs and services are cancelled through March 2021. Most programs are available through virtual formats.
- Virtual Fine Art Galleries currently exhibiting "#MASCFEM" by Joe Dulude II
- Virtual Supportive Services and Library Events
- Virtual Queer Bookshop (benefiting Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center!)
- Virtual Youth Programs: youth ages 14-21 can direct message @projectsilkpride on Instagram or email email@example.com.
- All staff have been instructed to work from home and will be available by email. Voicemails will be responded to within 24 hours.
Why are LGBT people at particular risk for COVID-19?
LGBT people are at particular risk for COVID-19 as a result of several factors:
We use tobacco at rates that are 50% higher than the general population. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that has proven particularly harmful to smokers.
Higher rates of HIV and cancer among LGBT individuals mean that a greater number of us may have compromised immunity, leaving us more vulnerable to Coronavirus infection.
LGBT people experience health disparities. Health disparities affect the potential COVID-19 impact on us in two ways:
- Access to care barriers leaves us less likely to get medical care, and
- Existing health disparities mean more of us live in a state of compromised health.
What can I do to avoid getting COVID-19?
From what we know about transmission now, there are clear steps we can all take to reduce this risk. Prolonged close exposure to airborne droplets from the breathing of someone who is shedding the virus is thought to be the main route for transmission. Try to minimize time spent in close quarters with other people inside. Whenever possible keep 6’ away from other people and stay outside. Practicing good pandemic hygiene including frequent hand washing and avoiding touching your mouth, nose, or eyes will reduce your risk of any surface-related exposure.
There is evidence of transmission by people who appear healthy. These people may be presymptomatic (about to show symptoms) but the important point is they can transmit the virus without understanding they are sick.
Plus, you can download the free COVID PA Alert app on your phone to report symptoms of COVID-19, while also providing data on daily user check-ins and a breakdown of cases statewide. It's completely safe and your information is secure.
Download the COVID PA Alert app
Governor Tom Wolf has released the current phases in which vaccines will be rolling out in the state of Pennsylvania.
*People living with HIV are eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1A and people living in Philadelphia under Phase 1B*
If any of you fall into one of these categories you can now schedule your COVID vaccine.
Allentown Health Bureau sign up is: www.allentownpaclinics.com
Bethlehem Health Bureau is their regular website
Are there special precautions that LGBT people should take?
If an LGBT person has cancer, smokes, is living with unsuppressed HIV, is over 65 years old, or has any other fragile health condition, consider taking additional measures to avoid risk of infection. This could include more vigilance about staying away from symptomatic people, it could include avoiding larger gatherings of people, and should definitely include practicing excellent epidemic hygiene, like frequent hand washing and breaking habits of face-touching.
All smokers should know they can access free tobacco cessation services by calling or visiting
What should I do if I think I may have this COVID-19?
Hospital hotlines for phone screening and determination if you need a COVID-19 test:
Lehigh Valley Health Network: 1-800-402-LVHN and ask for MyLVHNRN to be screened. More info from LVHN is available here.
St. Luke's University Health Network: 1-866-785-8537, option 7. More info from St. Luke's is available here.
Please do not go an ER until you have called one of the hotlines.
As you travel to get health care, remember:
- Cover your mouth in some way so you do not unwittingly transmit to others, and
- Wash your own hands frequently and minimize touching common surfaces.
Staying home while you are sick is the best way to avoid further transmitting the disease to others.
Mental Health Resources during social distancing:
This time can be very hard for so many of us. When you may need them, please reach out to these resources below. They are very helpful to many of us.
- Trevor Project (LGBT suicide prevention hotline): 1-866-488-7386
- Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
- SAGE National LGBT Elder Hotline: 877-360-LGBT (5428)
- Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Statewide Support & Referral Hotline (24/7): 1-855-284-2494
- Allentown Health Bureau "Sex During COVID-19" guidance in English and Spanish (May 6, 2020)
- American Public Health Association Spanish COVID Resource Guide
- NIH Interim Guidance on COVID-19 for People Living With HIV/AIDS (last updated April 21, 2020)
- NYC Department of Health Guidance on Sex and Coronavirus 2019 (June 8, 2020)
- Williams Institute Report on COVID-19 vulnerabilities for Trans Adults (May 1, 2020)
- Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund's Know Your Rights Guide During COVID-19
- Protect yourself from COVID-19: Stop Smoking and Vaping Now (CA Dept. of Public Health)
- Link between vaping and more severe COVID-19 Symptoms
- Pennsylvania Dept. of Aging Guide to COVID-19 for Older Adults
- Coronavirus Top Targets: Men, Seniors, Smokers
- How to have sex in the COVID-19 Pandemic
- What you need to know about coronavirus and HIV
- What People with HIV Need to Know About the New Coronavirus
- Stop Touching Your Face!
- How to Stop Touching Your Face
- CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public
- Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 information
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center has produced videos featuring drag performer Mandy Mango to help keep our community informed:
Safe brunching / happy hours during COVID-19
Sexual health during COVID-19
Keep washing your hands
Information on this page is provided in partnership with the National LGBT Cancer Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network. Developed resources reported in this project are supported by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012342 with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Additional support provided by Gamma Mu Foundation.
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