Tuesday February 20, 2018

iPhone app to address health issues of LGBT community

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New York: A team of researchers is launching a new study with the help of an iPhone app to look into the health and wellness issues of LGBT people.

A new ‘ResearchKit’ app developed by the University of California at San Francisco will survey a wide range of LGBT folks about health issues like HIV/AIDS, smoking, cancer, obesity, mental issues and depression, macworld.com reported.

Launched last March during Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event, the open-source ResearchKit framework has already been used to develop apps to conduct research on diabetes, breast cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease using information collected by iPhone sensors and user surveys.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has called ResearchKit as “perhaps the most profound change and positive impact the iPhone will make on our health”.

The study called ‘PRIDE Study’, is meant to shed some light on the unique health needs of LGBT folks.

“The main question there is, what is the relationship between being LGBTQ — or more broadly a sexual or gender minority person — and mental and physical health?” , Mitchell Lunn, co-director of the PRIDE Study at UCSF, was quoted as saying.

Lunn is hoping that the study will be useful in addressing the health concerns of transgender and bisexual people, an understudied segment of the LGBT population.

LGBT health advocates are optimistic about the vast potential of tapping into the iPhone’s massive user base to gather this vital information.

Finding people to sign up for a medical study and getting them to come to a clinic is very difficult. Now they can simply submit information on their iPhones from their place.

The study will also ask people to suggest which health topics pertaining to the LGBT community they want the study to address and the UCSF researchers will compile that user feedback to create the final survey questions.

(IANS)

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UN Expert Vitit Muntarbhorn Warns Against LGBTQ Rights Violations

"More than 70 countries around the world today still criminalise same-sex relations, and in some of them the death penalty may be applied," believes Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN' first independent expert on the rights of LGBT

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LGBTQ
A protester to support all students sign from National Center for transgender equality, Source : Wikimedia

United Nations, October 28, 2017 : Immediate action is needed to stop human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, a UN human rights expert has said.

“It is unconscionable that people with an actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression different from a particular social norm are targeted for violence and discrimination in many parts of the world,” said Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN’ first independent expert on the rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people.

“LGBT people are suffering a crucible of egregious violations, including killings, rape, mutilation, torture, arbitrary detention, abduction, harassment, physical and mental assaults.

“They are subjected to lashings and forced surgical interventions, bullying from a young age, incitement to hatred and pressures leading to suicide,” he told the UN General Assembly on Friday.

“More than 70 countries around the world today still criminalise same-sex relations, and in some of them the death penalty may be applied,” Xinhua quoted Muntarbhorn as saying.

Even where there is no law criminalising consensual same-sex relations, laws on public decency, public order and social peace are used to incriminate people under the umbrella of sexual orientation, gender identity and related gender expression, he noted.

Muntarbhorn who is from Thailand said all laws criminalising same-sex relationships should be removed from the statute books, and no other legal measures should be used to target sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for the purpose of consolidating power and suppressing dissent.

It was also imperative to remove the death penalty for all cases related to the criminalization of sexual orientation, gender identity and related gender expression, he stressed.

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“There is a need for effective anti-discrimination measures covering both the public and private spheres. Not only formal but substantive, not only de jure but also de facto, in addition to the building of a community open to understanding and respecting sexual and gender diversity,” said the expert.

To be effective, anti-discrimination frameworks should provide for effective measures to investigate alleged violations, redress for victims and accountability for alleged perpetrators, he said.

Muntarbhorn also expressed concern that human rights defenders were being increasingly targeted for their work in raising issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. (IANS)

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