A Nationwide Survey of COVID-19 Testing in LGBTQ+ Populations in the United States

Richard J. Martino, Kristen D. Krause, Marybec Griffin, Caleb LoSchiavo, Camilla Comer-Carruthers, Anita G. Karr, Allie F. Bullock, Perry N. Halkitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) people and populations face myriad health disparities that are likely to be evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objectives of our study were to describe patterns of COVID-19 testing among LGBTQ+ people and to differentiate rates of COVID-19 testing and test results by sociodemographic characteristics. Methods: Participants residing in the United States and US territories (N = 1090) aged ≥18 completed an internet-based survey from May through July 2020 that assessed COVID-19 testing and test results and sociodemographic characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). We analyzed data on receipt and results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 and symptoms of COVID-19 in relation to sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Of the 1090 participants, 182 (16.7%) received a PCR test; of these, 16 (8.8%) had a positive test result. Of the 124 (11.4%) who received an antibody test, 45 (36.3%) had antibodies. Rates of PCR testing were higher among participants who were non–US-born (25.4%) versus US-born (16.3%) and employed full-time or part-time (18.5%) versus unemployed (10.8%). Antibody testing rates were higher among gay cisgender men (17.2%) versus other SOGI groups, non–US-born (25.4%) versus US-born participants, employed (12.6%) versus unemployed participants, and participants residing in the Northeast (20.0%) versus other regions. Among SOGI groups with sufficient cell sizes (n > 10), positive PCR results were highest among cisgender gay men (16.1%). Conclusions: The differential patterns of testing and positivity, particularly among gay men in our sample, confirm the need to create COVID-19 public health messaging and programming that attend to the LGBTQ+ population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-507
Number of pages15
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • COVID-19
  • LGBTQ+
  • coronavirus
  • sexual and gender minority


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