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Abstract

Background: LGBTIQ asylum-seekers face multiple health risks. Yet, little is known about their healthcare needs. In 2016, Berlin opened the only major shelter for LGBTIQ asylum-seekers in Germany. This preliminary study describes health and healthcare utilization by asylum-seekers living in Berlin’s LGBTIQ shelter. To identify particular healthcare needs, we compared our results to asylum-seekers from other shelters.<br>

Methods: We surveyed residents of the LGBTIQ shelter and 21 randomly selected shelters in Berlin, using a validated questionnaire in nine languages (n = 309 respondents, including 32 respondents from the LGBTIQ shelter). Bivariate tests and generalized linear mixed models were applied to examine differences in health and healthcare utilization between the two groups. <br>

Results: Residents of the LGBTIQ shelter show high rates of chronic and mental illness. They use ambulatory and mental health services more frequently than asylum-seekers from other shelters, including a significantly higher chance of obtaining psychotherapy/psychiatric care in case of need. Emergency room utilization is also higher in the LGBTIQ group. <br>

Conclusions: Asylum-seekers from the LGBTIQ shelter face high chronic and mental health burdens. Tailored services in the LGBTIQ shelter help obtain adequate healthcare; they should be scaled up to maximize their potential. Yet, unmet needs remain and warrant further research.

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