243360 Sexual identity disclosure and the potential for increasing HIV and STI testing rates

Monday, October 31, 2011

Aja Kneip Pelster, BA , College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Jason D. Coleman, PhD, MSPH , School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Nebraska Omaha, Omaha, NE
Christopher Fisher, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Jay Irwin, PhD , Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Nebraska Omaha, Omaha, NE
Background: Sexual orientation may influence the type of specific screenings recommended by health care providers (HCP). This study examined gay men and bisexual men and women's disclosure of sexual orientation to their HCP to see if any differences could be seen in HIV and STD testing behaviors. Methods: A community-based participatory research approach was utilized to develop an online anonymous survey. Participants (N=500) were recruited via advertisements, press releases, fliers, and e-mail listserves. Participants were individuals who lived, worked, or "played" in Nebraska. Chi-squared analyses were conducted, using PASW 18.0. Results: Gay men who were out to their HCP were more likely to have been tested in the last year for STDs, χ2(1,n=310)=8.22, p≤.00, and ever for HIV, χ2(1,n=316)=25.9, p≤.00. Similar results for bisexual women were found for ever having had an HIV test, χ2(2,n=62)=4.23, p=.04. No significant differences for bisexual men were found. Conclusion: This study found that disclosure of sexual orientation with individuals' HCP did carry with it a greater likelihood of testing. For patients this means understanding that it is important to have an open dialogue about sexual orientation with providers. HPCs have a role and responsibility in developing and nurturing healthy and open relationships with their patients as well. Further training for HPC should focus on this communication and the role of cultural competency in their practice. Patient education literature should include the importance of being open about sexual identity with their providers.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the role that the disclosure of sexual orientation with health care providers has on testing rates of gay men and bisexual men and women in a midwestern rural state. 2. Explain the association of sexual identity disclosure with health care provider and HIV and STI testing in a midwestern rural state. 3. Evaluate STI and HIV testing behaviors based on disclosure of sexual orientation in a midwestern rural state.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: conceived the idea for the presentation and conducted data analysis
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.