CMS Data Highlight: Health Disparities Experienced Among Older Sexual Minorities

CMSThe Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS OMH) posted online national data – for the first time ever – exploring differences in 15 health characteristics between adults 65 years of age or older (older adults) who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (sexual minority), and older adults who identify as heterosexual or straight (sexual majority).

This data present estimates using data from two years of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS 2013-2014) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showing statistically significant differences for several health characteristics between sexual minority and sexual majority respondents.

Key Findings:

  • Among persons aged 65 and older, 62.7% of sexual minority respondents reported that they are in excellent or very good health compared to 45.9% of sexual majority respondents.
  • Nearly 80% of older sexual minority respondents reported that they received an influenza vaccine during the past year compared to nearly 70% of older sexual majority respondents.
  • More than half (51.3%) of the older sexual minority respondents reported that they had been tested for HIV compared to only 15.8% of the older sexual majority respondents.
  • Nearly twice as many older sexual minority respondents (14.5%) had five or more alcoholic drinks in one day – at least once in the past year – compared to older sexual majority respondents (6.7%).

Data Source: 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

The Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is committed to supporting the departments’ goals and to advancing sexual orientation and gender minority data collection and research.