Published July, 2018

Sexual Orientation Differences in Adolescent Health Care Access and Health-Promoting Physician Advice, Jeremy W. Luk, Ph.D. et al., Journal of Adolescent Health 61: 555-561 (2017)

With data drawn from responses of over 2,000 U.S. high school students, researchers found that sexual minority adolescents experience disparities in health care access.  Compared to their heterosexual counterparts, sexual minority adolescent males were more likely to report unmet medical needs, and sexual minority adolescent females were more likely to report no routine physical checkups. Two thirds of sexual minority young adults reported they have never discussed sexual orientation with their health care provider. The authors recommend a more sensitive assessment of sexual orientation as part of routine health care; and improving structural and policy approaches aimed at increasing the rates of annual routine physical checkups for sexual minority adolescent females. 

This study does not include findings specific to adolescents in state custody. However, the authors recommend further research exploring how their findings may be affected by the social environment of adolescents. They state, “access to culturally sensitive health care services that foster a safe environment for disclosure of sexual orientation [should] be made available to all sexual minority adolescents.”