On July 13th, Columbus Public Health (240 Parsons Avenue) hosted their first annual Diversity and Health Equity Summit. The event was open to the public and had many workshops, seminars, and lectures about LGBT and POC health equity, as well as HIV statistics. Information was provided about HIV criminalization and LGBT discrimination in America.
The workshop I attended was Through the Looking Glass: An LGBTQ+ Lens on Social Determinants of Health. This workshop was led by Jerry Mallicoat, the LGBT Health Initiatives Manager of Dayton & Montgomery County Public Health. He led a very informative discussion on identity, social determinants of health, and how the correlation between those two has negative impacts on LGBT individuals in society, especially transgender people (who can have issues with discrepancies on their IDs, etc that can prohibit them from getting effective and affirming healthcare).
HIV criminalization was a huge point of contention for the seminar. Ohio has a law in place that criminalizes HIV. The law essentially states that a person with HIV, whether or not they are undetectable (and therefore untransmittable), must disclose their status to any sexual partner and face time in prison if they do not. If found guilty, the person must also register as a sex offender. This policy is “often disproportionately enforced in disadvantaged populations” (Ohio Health Modernization Movement) and ties directly into the overarching theme of social determinants.
Intersectional activism was also a focus of the seminar, with race, age, socioeconomic background, religion, and disability being factors that influenced health equity along with being LGBT.
Please join us at the second summit.