Research to improve people's health


What is the cardiovascular health of LGTBIQA+ people like?

The IDIAPJGol will create the first LGTBIQA+ e-cohort in Europe to study cardiovascular health.  

Asset 2



 A group of researchers from IDIAPJGol has taken on the challenge of finding the answer to this question. The question arises from studies conducted in North America that suggest LGTBIQA+ individuals may experience higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, or dyslipidemia compared to heterosexual or cisgender individuals. According to these studies, the LGTBIQA+ population tends to visit medical consultations less frequently due to fear of stigmatization or discrimination, leading to a worsening of their cardiovascular health. For instance, it has been observed that the use of statins, medication for cholesterol reduction, is nearly half as prevalent in the LGTBIQA+ population.

In our country, there is a lack of data on cardiovascular health in LGTBIQA+ individuals, as research within this community is still limited, primarily focusing on sexually transmitted diseases. This is why IDIAPJGol is launching the IRIS project, aiming to shed light on the cardiovascular health of LGTBIQA+ individuals living in Catalonia.

The IRIS project has received funding from Carlos III Health Institute of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, under the title: "Lifestyles, risk factors, and cardiovascular disease in sexual and gender minorities: a population-based study with electronic primary care records (IRIS Project)." The project is led by Dr. María García-Gil and Dr. Anna Ponjoan, both from the Vascular Health Research Group in Girona at IDIAPJGol. The objective is to compare the prevalence and incidence of lifestyles, risk factors, and cardiovascular diseases between the general population and the LGTBIQA+ population. The project will also compare medication use and healthcare resource utilisation between the two populations. To achieve this, the project will apply a method that has not been previously used in Europe to study LGTBIQA+ health: large clinical databases.

"In Catalonia, we have one of the most powerful clinical databases in Europe: the SIDIAP. It compiles millions of records generated in day-to-day primary care consultations and manages them for anonymous and secure use in scientific research. SIDIAP has existed for 12 years, it is internationally recognised, and has already been used for numerous studies and publications. However, until now, it has never been used to study the LGTBIQA+ community, making the IRIS project a significant challenge," explains Dr. María Gil-García, who is familiar with this database as she used to be its general coordinator. She adds, "We need approximately 800 LGTBIQA+ individuals to grant us access to their anonymised clinical data through SIDIAP. Data confidentiality is guaranteed as SIDIAP depends on the Department of Health, and the project has obtained ethical approval. Therefore, we encourage all LGTBIQA+ individuals to participate in the study. Without you, we cannot eliminate the invisibility of the community in the medical field."

A fundamental pillar of the IRIS project is the LGTBIQA+ perspective, evident in the involvement of individuals from the community in various phases of the project. The study design was carried out with the participation of individuals identifying with the community, some of whom are associated with the PRISMA association, working to promote the LGTBIQA+ perspective in the field of science.

Participation in the study will be online, requiring just a few clicks on a mobile device. On one hand, with a single click, participants can give their approval to provide their anonymised clinical data to the IRIS project. On the other hand, also through mobile devices, they can send a link to three people in their social circle to invite them to participate in the study. In this way, the aim is to achieve the participation of approximately 800 LGTBIQA+ individuals, forming the first European e-cohort to study cardiovascular health.

The interpretation of the results will be conducted with the presence of the research team and a group of LGTBIQA+ individuals who will collaboratively construct the clinical message based on the data obtained in the project. The dissemination of these results will also involve the engagement of LGTBIQA+ community associations, ensuring that individuals within this community are informed about the cardiovascular health status. We believe that this knowledge is crucial for empowering these individuals and for increasing the visibility of this community within the medical sphere.

‘’The IRIS project is a unique opportunity to create the first e-cohort of LGTBIQA+ individuals in Spain and Europe. This marks a new scenario in research on LGTBIQA+ health, as this platform will substantially contribute to ending the invisibility of this community in the scientific realm," explains Dr. Anna Ponjoan.

If you have been invited to participate in the IRIS project, do not hesitate; help us improve clinical practice and the health of LGTBIQA+ individuals. If you have any questions, contact us:


Anna Ponjoan Thans | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | telèfon: 972 48 79 68