[Editorial Note]: Welcome Amy André, writer and sexual educator, for her first post on JVoices.com

I couldn’t be more proud or more thrilled to share my news with you! Last year, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) commissioned me to co-author a publication on bisexual health for their acclaimed Policy Institute. This document, titled Bisexual Health: An Introduction and Model Practices for HIV/ STI Prevention Programming, represents the first time a national LGBT nonprofit organization has devoted resources like this to the topic of bisexual health, and I was extremely honored to be a part of it.

I spent over a year working on it, and on March 13, the 143-page report was officially released! The past week has been an absolute whirlwind, as I participated in a national press conference on the release date, and, just early this morning, was interviewed live on the radio at KPFK in Los Angeles.

Bisexual Health is downloadable as a *free* PDF on the Task Force websitehere, and is described on the Task Force website and in this press release.

I urge you to check out the report, which contains information about the state of bisexual health (in a word: heart-breaking) and what we can do about it (aka, the good news!). In a nutshell, there is very little research on bisexual health, but what’s out there indicates that bisexuals are experiencing the following *in higher rates than lesbians, gays, and heterosexuals*:
— depression and other mental illness
— alcohol and drug abuse (For example, bi women are 3X more likely than heterosexual women and twice more likely than lesbians to be heavy drinkers.)
— smoking (For example, bi women smoke slightly, but significantly, more than lesbians and 2 to 3 times more than heterosexuals. Major cancer risk.)
— intimate partner violence and physical assault (For example, significantly higher numbers of bisexual women experience being punched or beaten, compared to lesbians and heterosexual women.)
— stigma and phobia (For example, in studies comparing attitudes toward groups such as Protestants, pro-lifers, people with HIV, African Americans, etc., bisexuals are rated second only to IV drug users in level of stigma.)

Most research that even mentions bisexuals lumps us together with gays and lesbians, which skews our understanding of lesbian/ gay health, too; only when identities are teased apart, do we see these significant differences. The bottom line is, no matter what someone’s orientation identity, none of this okay. Something needs to be done.

That’s where you come in. I just finished the publication, but the real work starts now. There is a lot that health care providers, medical researchers, and the bi and LGBT communities can do to address these issues, and the report outlines some critical – and easy to implement – low-cost and no-cost steps!

So if you’re bi or know someone who is (and since you know me, the answer is “yes?), please help spread the word. Tell your doctor, your local health department, your LGBT community, and everyone else you know to download the report (it’s free!) and take action. Press coverage is especially important. If you have media contacts, tell them too. I’ll be doing the same, and together, we can improve the health and lives of bisexuals.

Be healthy,
Amy