Chicago LGBTQ COVID-19 Resources
Coronavirus and the LGBTQ community
Over 100 national and organizations, including Center on Halsted and Howard Brown Health, have signed a letter created by the LGBT Cancer Network to bring attention to several factors that could mean the LGBTQ community is at a greater risk of complications from coronavirus (COVID-19), including:
  • LGBTQ people smoke at rates 50% higher than the general population, which could be detrimental if a respiratory illness like COVID-19 is contracted. 
  • Higher rates of HIV and cancer in the LGBTQ community means that a greater number of people may have compromised immune systems, which leaves them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections.
  • Health care discrimination in America, including denial of care, unwelcoming attitudes and lack of understanding from staff and providers means LGBTQ people may be more reluctant to seek medical care.

(Read the open letter)

What is the Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus is currently spreading from person to person in the United States, including Chicago. (Chicago's Coronavirus Response Center)

Incidence of COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, for example healthcare workers, or co-habitating people. Other people at higher risk are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

The vast majority of COVID-19 cases have been mild. The people most at risk for extreme complications from the virus are those who are over 60 years of age or who have underlying health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as those with severely weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus.

Symptoms include:

  •  Fever
  •  Cough
  •  Shortness of breath

For information on the virus itself and its symptoms, visit WHO’s Q&A page for an accurate understanding.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Prevention measures include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill
  • Stay home when you are ill
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and
  • clean your hands
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaner

What should I do if I think I may have this coronavirus?

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 (coronavirus), you can contact Howard Brown Health at (773) 388-1600. If a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1. 

If you do not have a health provider you are comfortable with, you can review the GLMA directory of welcoming providers 

What you can and cannot do during Illinois’ stay-at-home or order

What’s open?

In California and Illinois, for example, essential services remain open such as:

  • Banks
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Medical offices
  • Pharmacies
  • Public parks and open recreation areas (Parks may be closed at the discretion of each jurisdiction)
  • Restaurants (For delivery or takeout only)

Essential state and local government functions also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.

What’s closed?

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Convention Centers

The order also closes licensed child care centers and all childcare homes serving more than six children. 

What can you do?

In Illinois, residents are still allowed to leave their homes for essential needs like:

  • For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional
  • For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences
  • For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds
  • For certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations
  • To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another household

What about travel?

In Illinois, only essential travel is permitted and must be done in accordance with social distancing requirements. That includes travel related to:

  • Performing Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses and Operations or Minimum Basic Operations
  • Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons
  • Receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services from an educational institution
  • Returning to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
  • Following the direction of law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
  • Returning to a place of residence outside the State for non-residents

HIV Resource Coordination Hub

The Hub provides information, referrals and many other supports to both people living with HIV and AIDS and those who are vulnerable to HIV. The Hub is staffed 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Callers can reach the Hub through its dedicated line 844-482-4040 (844-HUB-4040) or through the State of Illinois HIV/STI Hotline 800-243-2437 (800-AID-AIDS). 

For LGBTQ older people and those aging with HIV

The SAGEUSA Hotline offers resources, info, and peer-support 24/7 in English and Spanish. Call 1-877-360-LGBT(5428).

Mental health phone hotlines and online chats

The Trevor Project has multiple crisis services available for young people, including TrevorLifeline (1-866-488-7386), TrevorChat, and TrevorText (text START to 678678), as well as TrevorSpace, an online community for LGBTQ+ people ages 13-24. 

LGBT National Help Center offers a national hotline for both youths and seniors, as well as online peer support chat rooms and a weekly youth chatroom for queer kids age 19 or younger.

(Fact Sheets: Tips for managing anxiety about COVID-19 | Mental health and coping during COVID-19)

Fact Sheets (various sources)

18 MAR 2020 | AIDS Foundation of Chicago
19 MAR 2020 | Chicago Department of Public Health
19 MAR 2020 | Chicago Department of Public Health
19 MAR 2020 | Chicago Department of Public Health
20 MAR 2020 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Resources on the Internet

US Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Surgeon General: Here’s how you can make a cloth mask in just a few easy steps

The CDC now recommends we wear some kind of cloth face mask when we have to leave home - whether it’s to the grocery store or the pharmacy.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams posted a DIY video on the surgeon general’s Twitter account.

Click here to see the CDC’s DIY cloth face mask instructions. Plus, learn how you can sterilize and clean your cloth face covering.

The information accessible through this page have been compiled from many sources that are not all controlled by While all reasonable care has been taken in the compilation and publication of the contents of this web site, GoPride Networks makes no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy or suitability of the information or materials contained in this resource. The information contained within this web site is of a condensed and general informational nature only and can change from time to time. It should not, by itself, be relied upon in determining medical care or other decisions. 

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