Effect of an eHealth intervention on COVID-19 knowledge, behaviours, and mental wellness of LGBT+ people: #SafeHandsSafeHearts randomized trial
Marginalized populations around the world bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. This is particularly true for LGBT+ groups who already face elevated rates of physical and mental health challenges, as well as socio-structural barriers that limit the effectiveness and feasibility of recommended preventive measures such as physical distancing and handwashing. These health and social disparities greatly increase the vulnerability of LGBT+ people to COVID-19, and compound with other forms of marginalization such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, and HIV status, as well as unstable housing and employment, healthcare discrimination, and violence. There is an absence of coordinated and community-engaged responses to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for these groups.
To address these challenges, this project will adapt, test, and disseminate a community-engaged eHealth intervention with diverse LGBT+ populations to reduce their risk of COVID-19 infection. The research team will test the intervention’s effectiveness in increasing COVID-19 knowledge and protective behaviours, and in reducing psychological distress among LGBT+ people in Canada, India, and Thailand. The results of this project will reduce the risk of COVID-19 for LGBT+ people and will also better inform health system and public health responses to support engagement of LGBT+ and other marginalized populations in the pandemic response.
The project was selected for funding through the COVID-19 May 2020 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, coordinated by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with IDRC and several other health research funding agencies across Canada.