Online Program

Rural-urban comparison of barriers to gynecological healthcare for sexual minority women

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

K. Nikki Barefoot, M.S., Rural Health Research Institute, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
K. Bryant Smalley, PhD, PsyD, MBA, Rural Health Research Institute, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Jacob Coleman Warren, PhD, Rural Health Research Institute, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Kayla LeLeux-LaBarge, M.S., Rural Health Research Institute, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
INTRODUCTION Sexual minority women are at greater risk for many reproductive cancers, but disproportionately lack adequate and ongoing health care. Furthermore, issues unique to rural individuals (e.g., more conservative climate, lower SES) may exacerbate these barriers to routine gynecological care. There is currently no quantitative data available examining the unique barriers to routine gynecological care for rural sexual minority women. The current study aims to compare barriers to care for rural and urban sexual minority women.

METHOD As part of a larger ongoing project, sexual minority participants are being recruited using an online survey. At interim analysis, there are 527 sexual minority women enrolled. It is expected that approximately 1,000 sexual minority women will be included in the final analysis.

RESULTS At interim analysis, 53.1% of the women sampled reported that they did not have a regular gynecologist. Furthermore, 19.3% of the sample reported avoiding appointments due to fears related to disclosure and/or discrimination. Over three-fourths (76.7%) of the women reported that their OB/GYN has never offered them education related to prevention and safe-sex practices appropriate for their sexual orientation and 45.3% reported feeling that their OB/GYN was not knowledgeable and sensitive to health issues unique to sexual minority women. Rural-urban comparisons will be made upon completion of data collection.

DISCUSSION Preliminary results suggest a high presence of barriers to gynecologic care for sexual minority women in both geographic settings. Policy implications will be discussed centering on medical curriculum and continuing education.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the unique barriers to routine preventive care (i.e., availability, accessibility, and acceptability) for sexual minority women. Discuss rural-urban differences in barriers to routine care for sexual minority women.

Keyword(s): Lesbian Health, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a behavioral epidemiologist and Co-Executive Director of the Rural Health Research Institute within my University. I have been PI of several federally-funded projects focused on rural health issues and published several articles on health behaviors in sexual minorities.
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.