Sexual Health Care Practitioners' Evaluation of Men Who Have Sex With Men



      The Institute of Medicine Report and Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 Initiative have called for steps to address health disparities facing sexual minorities.


      We sought to characterize the practice patterns of sexual health specialists as they relate to men who have sex with men (MSM).


      Surveys were electronically mailed to 696 members of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Responses were compared using descriptive statistics and χ2 analysis with Yates correction where appropriate.


      Outcomes were SMSNA members' demographics, their assessment of their patients' sexual orientation, and adaptation of care to address the specific needs of their MSM patients.


      92 (13.2%) Members responded. While 93.3% of respondents reported treating MSM patients, only 51.7% routinely asked about sexual orientation. Of those that do not ask, 41.9% responded that sexual orientation is irrelevant to their patients' care and 25.6% responded that patients will disclose this information if the patient thinks it is important. Practitioners inquiring about sexual orientation were more likely to practice in urban settings; more likely to inquire about a greater number of sexual behaviors; more likely to tailor their care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender needs; and more likely to endorse the notion that homosexual/bisexual patients have unique sexual dysfunction concerns.

      Clinical Translation

      Limited and uneven inquiry about sexual orientation necessitates efforts aimed at tailoring care to the needs of sexual minority patients.

      Strengths & Limitations

      This survey addresses a gap in the literature by investigating predictors and practical consequences of practitioner inquiry about sexual orientation.
      Limitations include a low response rate, disparate study population, the potential influence of respondent social desirability biases, and spurious associations due to a multiplicity of statistical tests.


      Only about half of surveyed SMSNA members ask their patients' sexual orientation; inquiry about sexual orientation was associated with practice setting and with provider practice patterns and attitudes.
      Saheb Kashaf M, Butler PR, Cordon-Galiano BH, et al. Sexual Health Care Practitioners' Evaluation of Men Who Have Sex With Men. J Sex Med 2018;15:942–946.

      Key Words

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