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1.  The health of people classified as lesbian, gay and bisexual attending family practitioners in London: a controlled study 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:127.
Background
The morbidity of gay, lesbian or bisexual people attending family practice has not been previously assessed. We compared health measures of family practice attendees classified as lesbian, gay and bisexual.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional, controlled study conducted in 13 London family practices and compared the responses of 26 lesbian and 85 bisexual classified women, with that of 934 heterosexual classified women and 38 gay and 23 bisexual classified men with that of 373 heterosexual classified men. Our outcomes of interest were: General health questionnaire; CAGE questionnaire; short form12; smoking status; sexual experiences during childhood; number of sexual partners and sexual function and satisfaction.
Results
In comparison to people classified as heterosexuals: men classified as gay reported higher levels of psychological symptoms (OR 2.48, CI 1.05–5.90); women classified as bisexual were more likely to misuse alcohol (OR 2.73, 1.70–4.40); women classified as bisexual (OR 2.53, 1.60–4.00) and lesbian (OR 3.13, 1.41–6.97) and men classified as bisexual (OR 2.48, 1,04, 5.86) were more likely to be smokers and women classified as bisexual (OR 3.27, 1.97–5.43) and men classified as gay (OR 4.86, 2.28–10.34) were much more likely to report childhood sexual experiences in childhood. Psychological distress was associated with reporting sexual experiences in childhood in men classified as gay and bisexual and women classified as heterosexual. Men classified as bisexual (OR 5.00, 1.73–14.51) and women classified as bisexual (OR 2.88, 1.24- 6.56) were more likely than heterosexuals to report more than one sexual partner in the preceding four weeks. Lesbian, gay and bisexual classified people encountered no more sexual function problems than heterosexuals but men classified as bisexual (OR 2.74, 1.12–6.70) were more dissatisfied with their sex lives.
Conclusion
Bisexual and lesbian classified people attending London general practices were more likely to be smokers and gay classified men were at increased risk of psychological distress in comparison to heterosexual classified people. Increased awareness of the sexuality of people seen in primary care can provide opportunities for health promotion.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-127
PMCID: PMC1475848  PMID: 16681849
2.  FROM BIAS TO BISEXUAL HEALTH DISPARITIES: ATTITUDES TOWARD BISEXUAL MEN AND WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES 
LGBT health  2014;1(4):309-318.
PUROPSE
A newly emergent literature suggest that bisexual men and women face profound health disparities in comparison to both heterosexual and homosexual individuals. Additionally, bisexual individuals often experience prejudice, stigma, and discrimination from both gay/lesbian and straight communities, termed “biphobia.” However, only limited research exists that empirically tests the extent and predictors of this double discrimination. The Bisexualities: Indiana Attitudes Survey (BIAS) was developed to test associations between biphobia and sexual identity.
METHODS
Using standard techniques, we developed and administered a scale to a purposive online sample of adults from a wide range of social networking websites. We conducted exploratory factor analysis to refine scales assessing attitudes toward bisexual men and bisexual women, respectively. Using generalized linear modeling, we assessed relationships between BIAS scores and sexual identity, adjusting for covariates.
RESULTS
Two separately gendered scales were developed, administered, and refined: BIAS-m (n=645), focusing on attitudes toward bisexual men; and BIAS-f (n=631), focusing on attitudes toward bisexual women. Across scales, sexual identity significantly predicted response variance. Lesbian/gay respondents had lower levels of bi-negative attitudes than their heterosexual counterparts (all p-values <.05); bisexual respondents had lower levels of bi-negative attitudes than their straight counterparts (all p-values <.001); and bisexual respondents had lower levels of bi-negative attitudes than their lesbian/gay counterparts (all p-values <.05). Within racial/ethnic minority respondents, biracial/multiracial status was associated with lower bi-negativity scores (all p-values <.05).
CONCLUSION
This study provides important quantitative support for theories related to biphobia and double discrimination. Our findings provide strong evidence for understanding how stereotypes and stigma may lead to dramatic disparities in depression, anxiety, stress, and other health outcomes among bisexual individuals in comparison to their heterosexual and homosexual counterparts. Our results yield valuable data for informing social awareness and intervention efforts that aim to decrease bi-negative attitudes within both straight and gay/lesbian communities, with the ultimate goal of alleviating health disparities among bisexual men and women.
PMCID: PMC4283842  PMID: 25568885
Bisexuality; attitudes; bisexual men; bisexual women; stigma
3.  An Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk Behavior of Substance-Using Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Two-Group Randomized Trial with a Nonrandomized Third Group 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(8):e1000329.
In a randomized trial of a behavioral intervention among substance-using men who have sex with men, aimed at reducing sexual risk behavior, Mansergh and colleagues fail to find evidence of a reduction in risk from the intervention.
Background
Substance use during sex is associated with sexual risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM), and MSM continue to be the group at highest risk for incident HIV in the United States. The objective of this study is to test the efficacy of a group-based, cognitive-behavioral intervention to reduce risk behavior of substance-using MSM, compared to a randomized attention-control group and a nonrandomized standard HIV-testing group.
Methods and Findings
Participants (n = 1,686) were enrolled in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco and randomized to a cognitive-behavioral intervention or attention-control comparison. The nonrandomized group received standard HIV counseling and testing. Intervention group participants received six 2-h group sessions focused on reducing substance use and sexual risk behavior. Attention-control group participants received six 2-h group sessions of videos and discussion of MSM community issues unrelated to substance use, sexual risk, and HIV/AIDS. All three groups received HIV counseling and testing at baseline. The sample reported high-risk behavior during the past 3 mo prior to their baseline visit: 67% reported unprotected anal sex, and 77% reported substance use during their most recent anal sex encounter with a nonprimary partner. The three groups significantly (p<0.05) reduced risk behavior (e.g., unprotected anal sex reduced by 32% at 12-mo follow-up), but were not different (p>0.05) from each other at 3-, 6-, and 12-mo follow-up. Outcomes for the 2-arm comparisons were not significantly different at 12-mo follow-up (e.g., unprotected anal sex, odds ratio = 1.14, confidence interval = 0.86–1.51), nor at earlier time points. Similar results were found for each outcome variable in both 2- and 3-arm comparisons.
Conclusions
These results for reducing sexual risk behavior of substance-using MSM are consistent with results of intervention trials for other populations, which collectively suggest critical challenges for the field of HIV behavioral interventions. Several mechanisms may contribute to statistically indistinguishable reductions in risk outcomes by trial group. More explicit debate is needed in the behavioral intervention field about appropriate scientific designs and methods. As HIV prevention increasingly competes for behavior-change attention alongside other “chronic” diseases and mental health issues, new approaches may better resonate with at-risk groups.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00153361
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in the US. As the disease spread around the world, it became clear that AIDS also affects heterosexual men and women. Now, three decades on, more than 30 million people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner and, globally, most sexual transmission of HIV now occurs during heterosexual sex. However, 5%–10% of all new HIV infections still occur in men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses gay, bisexual, transgendered, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men) and, in several high-income countries, male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important HIV transmission route. In the US, for example, more than half of the approximately 50,000 people who become infected with HIV every year do so through male-to-male sexual contact.
Why Was This Study Done?
In countries where MSM are the group at highest risk of HIV infection, any intervention that reduces HIV transmission in MSM should have a major effect on the overall HIV infection rate. Among MSM, sexual behaviors that increase the risk of HIV infection (for example, not using a condom, having anal sex, having sex with a partner of unknown HIV status, and having sex with many partners) are associated with the use of alcohol and noninjection drugs (for example, inhaled amyl nitrite or poppers) during or shortly before sexual encounters. In this study (Project MIX), the researchers investigate whether a group-based behavioral intervention reduces sexual risk behavior in substance-using MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited substance-using MSM from four US cities who had had risky sex at least once in the past 6 months. Participants were randomized to a cognitive-behavioral intervention or to an attention-control group; a third, nonrandomized group of MSM formed a standard HIV counseling and testing only group. All the groups had HIV counseling and testing at the start of the study and completed a questionnaire about their substance use and sexual risk behavior during their most recent anal sex encounter. The cognitive-behavior group then received six weekly 2-hour group sessions focused on reducing substance use and sexual risk behavior by helping the men change their thinking (cognition) and behavior regarding sexual risk taking. The attention-control group received six group sessions about general MSM issues such as relationships, excluding discussion of substance use, and sexual risk behavior. The participants in both of these groups completed the questionnaire about their substance use and sexual risk behavior again at 3, 6, and 12 months after the group sessions; the participants in the standard HIV counseling and testing group completed the questionnaire again about 5 months after completing the first questionnaire (to control for the time taken by the other two groups to complete the intervention). At baseline, about 67% of the participants reported unprotected anal sex and 77% reported substance use during their most recent anal sex encounter with a nonprimary partner. At the 3-month follow-up, the incidence of sexual risk behavior had fallen to about 43% in all three groups; the incidence of substance use during sex had fallen to about 50%. Risk taking and substance use remained at these levels in the intervention and attention-control groups at the later follow-up time points.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that this cognitive-behavioral intervention is no better at reducing sexual risk taking among substance-using MSM than is an unrelated video-discussion group or standard HIV counseling and testing. One explanation for this negative result might be that brief counseling is especially effective with people who are ready for a change such as MSM willing to enroll in an intervention trial of this type. Alternatively, just being in the trial might have encouraged all the participants to self-report reduced risk behavior. Thus, alternative scientific designs and methods might be needed to find behavioral interventions that can effectively reduce HIV transmission among substance-using MSM and other people at high risk of HIV infection. Importantly, however, these findings raise the question of whether more extensive, multilevel interventions or broader lifestyle and positive health approaches (rather than single-level or single-subject behavioral interventions) might be needed to reduce sexual risk behavior among substance-using MSM.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000329.
Information is available from the US Department of Health and Human Services on HIV prevention programs, research, and policy
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV transmission and transmission in gay men and other MSM, on substance abuse and HIV/AIDS, and on safer sex
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit, on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV, AIDS, and men who have sex with men and on drink, drugs, and sex (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have information for the public and for professionals about HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has information on HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, including a resource aimed at educating teenagers about the link between drug abuse and the spread of HIV in the US (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000329
PMCID: PMC2927550  PMID: 20811491
4.  Tobacco, Marijuana Use and Sensation-seeking: Comparisons Across Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Heterosexual Groups 
This study examined patterns of smoked substances (cigarettes and marijuana) among heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals based on data from the 2000 National Alcohol Survey (NAS), a population-based telephone survey of adults in the United States. We also examined the effect of bar patronage and sensation-seeking/impulsivity (SSImp) on tobacco and marijuana use. Sexual orientation was defined as: lesbian or gay self-identified, bisexual self-identified, heterosexual self-identified with same-sex partners in the last five years, and exclusively heterosexual (heterosexual self-identified, reporting no same sex partners). Findings indicate that bisexual women and heterosexual women reporting same-sex partners had higher rates of cigarette smoking than exclusively heterosexual women. Bisexual women, lesbians and heterosexual women with same-sex partners also used marijuana at significantly higher rates than exclusively heterosexual women. Marijuana use was significantly greater and tobacco use was elevated among gay men compared to heterosexual men. SSImp was associated with greater use of both of these substances across nearly all groups. Bar patronage and SSImp did not buffer the relationship between sexual identity and smoking either cigarettes or marijuana. These findings suggest that marijuana and tobacco use differ by sexual identity, particularly among women, and underscore the importance of developing prevention and treatment services that are appropriate for sexual minorities.
doi:10.1037/a0017334
PMCID: PMC2801062  PMID: 20025368
sexual orientation; tobacco use; marijuana use; sensation-seeking; bar patronage
5.  Elevated Risk for HIV Infection among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Low- and Middle-Income Countries 2000–2006: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e339.
Background
Recent reports of high HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union (FSU) suggest high levels of HIV transmission among MSM in low- and middle-income countries. To investigate the global epidemic of HIV among MSM and the relationship of MSM outbreaks to general populations, we conducted a comprehensive review of HIV studies among MSM in low- and middle-income countries and performed a meta-analysis of reported MSM and reproductive-age adult HIV prevalence data.
Methods and Findings
A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted using systematic methodology. Data regarding HIV prevalence and total sample size was sequestered from each of the studies that met inclusion criteria and aggregate values for each country were calculated. Pooled odds ratio (OR) estimates were stratified by factors including HIV prevalence of the country, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)–classified level of HIV epidemic, geographic region, and whether or not injection drug users (IDUs) played a significant role in given epidemic. Pooled ORs were stratified by prevalence level; very low-prevalence countries had an overall MSM OR of 58.4 (95% CI 56.3–60.6); low-prevalence countries, 14.4 (95% CI 13.8–14.9); and medium- to high-prevalence countries, 9.6 (95% CI 9.0–10.2). Significant differences in ORs for HIV infection among MSM in were seen when comparing low- and middle-income countries; low-income countries had an OR of 7.8 (95% CI 7.2–8.4), whereas middle-income countries had an OR of 23.4 (95% CI 22.8–24.0). Stratifying the pooled ORs by whether the country had a substantial component of IDU spread resulted in an OR of 12.8 (95% CI 12.3–13.4) in countries where IDU transmission was prevalent, and 24.4 (95% CI 23.7–25.2) where it was not. By region, the OR for MSM in the Americas was 33.3 (95% CI 32.3–34.2); 18.7 (95% CI 17.7–19.7) for Asia; 3.8 (95% CI 3.3–4.3) for Africa; and 1.3 (95% CI 1.1–1.6) for the low- and middle-income countries of Europe.
Conclusions
MSM have a markedly greater risk of being infected with HIV compared with general population samples from low- and middle-income countries in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. ORs for HIV infection in MSM are elevated across prevalence levels by country and decrease as general population prevalence increases, but remain 9-fold higher in medium–high prevalence settings. MSM from low- and middle-income countries are in urgent need of prevention and care, and appear to be both understudied and underserved.
From a systematic review, Chris Beyrer and colleagues conclude that men who have sex with men in the Americas, Asia, and Africa have a markedly greater risk of being HIV-infected than does the general population.
Editors' Summary
Background.
AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in New York and California. But, as the disease rapidly spread around the world, it became clear that AIDS also affected heterosexual men and women. Now, a quarter of a century later, 40 million people are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the organism that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner and in sub-Saharan Africa, the region most badly hit by HIV/AIDS, heterosexual transmission predominates. However, globally, 5%–10% of all HIV infections are thought to be in men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses gay, bisexual, transgendered, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men), and in several high-income countries, including the US, male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important HIV transmission route.
Why Was This Study Done?
In the US, the MSM population is visible and there is considerable awareness about the risks of HIV transmission associated with sex between men. In many other countries, MSM are much less visible. They remain invisible because they fear discrimination, stigmatization (being considered socially unacceptable), or arrest—sex between men is illegal in 85 countries. Consequently, MSM are often under-represented in HIV surveillance systems and in prevention and care programs. If the AIDS epidemic is going to be halted, much more needs to be known about HIV prevalence (the proportion of the population that is infected) among MSM. In this study, the researchers have done a systematic review (a type of research where the results of existing studies are brought together) on published reports of HIV prevalence among MSM in low- and middle-income countries to get a better picture of the global epidemic of HIV in this population.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers found 83 published studies that reported HIV prevalence in 38 low- and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Eastern Europe. When the results were pooled—in what statisticians call a meta-analysis—MSM were found to have a 19.3-times greater chance of being infected with HIV than the general population. This is described as a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 19.3. The researchers also did several subgroup analyses where they asked whether factors such as injection drug use (another risk factor for HIV transmission), per capita income, geographical region, or the HIV prevalence in the general population were associated with differential risk (increase in odds) of HIV infection compared to the general population. They found, for example, that in countries where the prevalence of HIV in the general population was very low (less than 1 adult in 1,000 infected) the pooled OR for MSM compared to the general population was 58.4; where it was high (more than 1 adult in 20 infected), the pooled OR for MSM was 9.6.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that MSM living in low- to middle-income countries have a greater risk of HIV infection than the general populations of these countries. The subgroup analyses indicate that the high HIV prevalence among MSM is not limited to any one region or income level or to countries with any specific HIV prevalence or injection drug use level. Although the small number and design of the studies included in the meta-analysis may affect the numerical accuracy of these findings, the clear trend toward a higher HIV prevalence of among MSM suggests that HIV surveillance efforts should be expanded to include MSM in those countries where they are currently ignored. Efforts should also be made to include MSM in HIV prevention programs and to improve the efficacy of these programs by investigating the cultural, behavioral, social, and public policy factors that underlie the high HIV prevalence among MSM. By increasing surveillance, research, and prevention among MSM in low- to middle-income countries, it should be possible to curb HIV transmission in this marginalized population and reduce the global burden of HIV.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040339.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association provides a world legal map on legislation affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission provides a page called Off the Map: How HIV/AIDS Programming is Failing Same-Sex Practicing People in Africa
The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) has launched their MSM initiative, which is focused on providing support to front-line community groups working on providing services and doing research focused on HIV among MSM in lower income-settings
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including a list of organizations that provide information for gay men and MSM
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV, AIDS, and men who have sex with men
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV/AIDS and on HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040339
PMCID: PMC2100144  PMID: 18052602
6.  Sexual Minorities in England Have Poorer Health and Worse Health Care Experiences: A National Survey 
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
The health and healthcare of sexual minorities have recently been identified as priorities for health research and policy.
OBJECTIVE
To compare the health and healthcare experiences of sexual minorities with heterosexual people of the same gender, adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
DESIGN
Multivariate analyses of observational data from the 2009/2010 English General Practice Patient Survey.
PARTICIPANTS
The survey was mailed to 5.56 million randomly sampled adults registered with a National Health Service general practice (representing 99 % of England’s adult population). In all, 2,169,718 people responded (39 % response rate), including 27,497 people who described themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
MAIN MEASURES
Two measures of health status (fair/poor overall self-rated health and self-reported presence of a longstanding psychological condition) and four measures of poor patient experiences (no trust or confidence in the doctor, poor/very poor doctor communication, poor/very poor nurse communication, fairly/very dissatisfied with care overall).
KEY RESULTS
Sexual minorities were two to three times more likely to report having a longstanding psychological or emotional problem than heterosexual counterparts (age-adjusted for 5.2 % heterosexual, 10.9 % gay, 15.0 % bisexual for men; 6.0 % heterosexual, 12.3 % lesbian and 18.8 % bisexual for women; p < 0.001 for each). Sexual minorities were also more likely to report fair/poor health (adjusted 19.6 % heterosexual, 21.8 % gay, 26.4 % bisexual for men; 20.5 % heterosexual, 24.9 % lesbian and 31.6 % bisexual for women; p < 0.001 for each).
Adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and health status, sexual minorities were about one and one-half times more likely than heterosexual people to report unfavorable experiences with each of four aspects of primary care. Little of the overall disparity reflected concentration of sexual minorities in low-performing practices.
CONCLUSIONS
Sexual minorities suffer both poorer health and worse healthcare experiences. Efforts should be made to recognize the needs and improve the experiences of sexual minorities. Examining patient experience disparities by sexual orientation can inform such efforts.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-014-2905-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11606-014-2905-y
PMCID: PMC4284269  PMID: 25190140
sexual orientation; health care experiences; disparities
7.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001609.
Ana Maria Buller and colleagues review 19 studies and estimate the associations between the experience and perpetration of intimate partner violence and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) is a significant problem. Little is known about the association between IPV and health for MSM. We aimed to estimate the association between experience and perpetration of IPV, and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
Methods and Findings
We searched 13 electronic databases up to 23 October 2013 to identify research studies reporting the odds of health conditions or sexual risk behaviours for MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV. Nineteen studies with 13,797 participants were included in the review. Random effects meta-analyses were performed to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.88, 95% CIOR 1.59–2.22, I2 = 46.9%, 95% CII2 0%–78%), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, 95% CIOR 1.26–1.69, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–62%), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, 95% CIOR 1.24–1.86, I2 = 9.9%, 95% CII2 0%–91%), and engagement in unprotected anal sex (OR = 1.72, 95% CIOR 1.44–2.05, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–68%). Perpetration of IPV was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.99, 95% CIOR 1.33–2.99, I2 = 73.1%). These results should be interpreted with caution because of methodological weaknesses such as the lack of validated tools to measure IPV in this population and the diversity of recall periods and key outcomes in the identified studies.
Conclusions
MSM who are victims of IPV are more likely to engage in substance use, suffer from depressive symptoms, be HIV positive, and engage in unprotected anal sex. MSM who perpetrate IPV are more likely to engage in substance use. Our results highlight the need for research into effective interventions to prevent IPV in MSM, as well as the importance of providing health care professionals with training in how to address issues of IPV among MSM and the need to raise awareness of local and national support services.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is a common and widespread problem. Globally, nearly a third of women are affected by IPV at some time in their life, but the prevalence of IPV (the proportion of the population affected by IPV) varies widely between countries. In central sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly two-thirds of women experience IPV during their lifetime, whereas in East Asia only one-sixth of women are affected. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional harm that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, and other types of physical force; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent; and emotional abuse includes threatening a partner by, for example, stalking them or preventing them from seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV for women include physical injury, depression and suicidal behaviour, and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
IPV affects men as well as women. Men can be subjected to IPV either by a female partner or by a male partner in the case of men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). Recent reviews suggest that the prevalence of IPV in same-sex couples is as high as the prevalence of IPV for women in opposite-sex relationships: reported lifetime prevalences of IPV in homosexual male relationships range between 15.4% and 51%. Little is known, however, about the adverse health effects of IPV on MSM. It is important to understand how IPV affects the health of MSM so that appropriate services and interventions can be provided to support MSM who experience IPV. In this systematic review (a study that identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria) and meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of several studies using statistical methods), the researchers investigate the associations between the experience and perpetration of IPV and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 studies that investigated associations between IPV and various health conditions or sexual risk behaviours (for example, unprotected anal sex, a risk factor for HIV infection) among MSM. The associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs); an OR represents the odds (chances) that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure. The researchers estimated pooled ORs from the data in the individual studies using meta-analysis. The pooled lifetime prevalence of experiencing any IPV (which was measured in six studies) was 48%. Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with an increased risk of substance (alcohol or drug) use (OR = 1.88, data from nine studies), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, data from three studies), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, data from ten studies), and engagement in unprotected sex (OR = 1.72, data from eight studies). Perpetration of IPV was associated with an increased risk of substance abuse (OR = 1.99, data from six studies).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that MSM frequently experience IPV and that exposure to IPV is associated with several adverse health conditions and sexual risk behaviours. There were insufficient data to estimate the lifetime prevalence of IPV perpetration among MSM, but these findings also reveal an association between IPV perpetration and substance use. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) between the studies included in the meta-analyses, by the design of these studies, and by the small number of studies. Despite these and other limitations, these findings highlight the need to undertake research to identify interventions to prevent IPV among MSM and to learn more about the health effects of IPV among MSM. They highlight the importance of health care professionals being aware that IPV is a problem for MSM and of training these professionals to assess MSM for IPV. Finally, these results highlight the need to improve the availability and effectiveness of support services to which health care professionals can refer MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about IPV and a fact sheet on understanding IPV that includes links to further resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV, including MSM; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project/GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides support and services to MSM experiencing IPV; its website includes some personal stories
The UK not-for-profit organization Respect runs two advice lines: the Men's Advice Line provides advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse and the Respect Phoneline provides advice for domestic violence perpetrators and for professionals who would like further information about services for those using violence/abuse in their intimate partner relationships
The UK not-for-profit organization ManKind Initiative also provides support for male victims of IPV
The UK not-for-profit organization Broken Rainbow UK provides help and support for lesbians and MSM experiencing IPV
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Galop gives advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence, or domestic abuse
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609
PMCID: PMC3942318  PMID: 24594975
8.  A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people 
BMC Psychiatry  2008;8:70.
Background
Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people may be at higher risk of mental disorders than heterosexual people.
Method
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of mental disorder, substance misuse, suicide, suicidal ideation and deliberate self harm in LGB people. We searched Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Cinahl, the Cochrane Library Database, the Web of Knowledge, the Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Sociological Abstracts, the Campbell Collaboration and grey literature databases for articles published January 1966 to April 2005. We also used Google and Google Scholar and contacted authors where necessary. We searched all terms related to homosexual, lesbian and bisexual people and all terms related to mental disorders, suicide, and deliberate self harm. We included papers on population based studies which contained concurrent heterosexual comparison groups and valid definition of sexual orientation and mental health outcomes.
Results
Of 13706 papers identified, 476 were initially selected and 28 (25 studies) met inclusion criteria. Only one study met all our four quality criteria and seven met three of these criteria. Data was extracted on 214,344 heterosexual and 11,971 non heterosexual people. Meta-analyses revealed a two fold excess in suicide attempts in lesbian, gay and bisexual people [pooled risk ratio for lifetime risk 2.47 (CI 1.87, 3.28)]. The risk for depression and anxiety disorders (over a period of 12 months or a lifetime) on meta-analyses were at least 1.5 times higher in lesbian, gay and bisexual people (RR range 1.54–2.58) and alcohol and other substance dependence over 12 months was also 1.5 times higher (RR range 1.51–4.00). Results were similar in both sexes but meta analyses revealed that lesbian and bisexual women were particularly at risk of substance dependence (alcohol 12 months: RR 4.00, CI 2.85, 5.61; drug dependence: RR 3.50, CI 1.87, 6.53; any substance use disorder RR 3.42, CI 1.97–5.92), while lifetime prevalence of suicide attempt was especially high in gay and bisexual men (RR 4.28, CI 2.32, 7.88).
Conclusion
LGB people are at higher risk of mental disorder, suicidal ideation, substance misuse, and deliberate self harm than heterosexual people.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-70
PMCID: PMC2533652  PMID: 18706118
9.  Sexual Orientation–Related Differences in Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among US Adults Aged 20 to 59 Years: 2003–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 
American journal of public health  2013;103(10):1837-1844.
Objectives
We investigated sexual orientation–related differences in tobacco use and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in a nationally representative sample of US adults.
Methods
The 2003–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys assessed 11 744 individuals aged 20 to 59 years for sexual orientation, tobacco use, and SHS exposure (cotinine levels ≥ 0.05 ng/mL in a nonsmoker). We used multivariate methods to compare tobacco use prevalence and SHS exposure among gay or lesbian (n = 180), bisexual (n = 273), homosexually experienced (n = 388), and exclusively heterosexual (n = 10 903) individuals, with adjustment for demographic confounding.
Results
Lesbian and bisexual women evidenced higher rates of tobacco use than heterosexual women. Among nonsmokers, SHS exposure was more prevalent among lesbian and homosexually experienced women than among heterosexual women. Nonsmoking lesbians reported greater workplace exposure and bisexual women greater household exposure than heterosexual women did. Identical comparisons among men were not significant except for lower workplace exposure among nonsmoking gay men than among heterosexual men.
Conclusions
Nonsmoking sexual-minority women are more likely to be exposed to SHS than nonsmoking heterosexual women. Public health efforts to reduce SHS exposure in this vulnerable population are needed.
doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301423
PMCID: PMC3780743  PMID: 23948019
10.  The Coming-Out Process of Young Lesbian and Bisexual Women: Are There Butch/Femme Differences in Sexual Identity Development? 
Archives of sexual behavior  2007;38(1):34-49.
Research on lesbian and bisexual women has documented various biological and behavioral differences between butch and femme women. However, little research has examined whether differences exist in sexual identity development (i.e., the coming-out process). The present study examined longitudinally potential butch/femme differences in sexual identity formation and integration among an ethnically diverse sample of 76 self-identified lesbian and bisexual young women (ages 14–21 years). A composite measure of butch/femme identity classified 43% as butch and 51% as femme. Initial comparisons found butch/femme differences in sexual identity (i.e., nearly all butches identified as lesbian, but about half of femmes identified as bisexual), suggesting the need to examine this confound. Comparisons of lesbian butches, lesbian femmes, and bisexual femmes found that lesbian butches and femmes generally did not differ on sexual identity formation, but they differed from bisexual femmes. Lesbian butches and femmes had sexual behaviors and a cognitive sexual orientation that were more centered on women than those of bisexual femmes. With respect to sexual identity integration, lesbian butches were involved in more gay social activities, were more comfortable with others knowing about their homosexuality, and were more certain, comfortable, and accepting of their sexual identity than were bisexual femmes. Fewer differences were found between lesbian femmes and bisexual femmes or between lesbian butches and lesbian femmes. The findings suggest that sexual identity formation does not differ between butch or femme women, but differences are linked to sexual identity as lesbian or bisexual. Further, the findings that lesbian femmes sometimes differed from lesbian butches and at other times from bisexual femmes on sexual identity integration suggest that neither sexual identity nor butch/femme alone may explain sexual identity integration. Research examining the intersection between sexual identity and butch/femme is needed.
doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9221-0
PMCID: PMC3189348  PMID: 17896173
coming-out process; sexual identity; sexual orientation; sexual behavior; internalized homophobia; adolescents
11.  Reported condom use and condom use difficulties in street outreach samples of men of four racial and ethnic backgrounds. 
International journal of STD & AIDS  2005;16(11):739-743.
The epidemiology of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States has focused research attention on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities as well as on racial and ethnic minorities. Much of that attention has, however, been focused on specific racial and ethnic groups and specific sexual minorities. We report on the results of a study that examined the association between condom use and partnership types among men from four major racial/ethnic groups.
Self-reported data on sexual identity (homosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual) and condom use in the past three months were collected from 806 African American, Hispanic, Asian, and White men intercepted in public places in Houston, Texas. Data indicated that condom use was lowest in African American and Hispanic men, Bisexual men reported the highest levels of use, with heterosexual men reporting the lowest use. African American and Hispanic men reported generally that it was very difficult to use a condom during sexual contact, although the patterns for self-identified homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual men varied across race/ ethnicity. Homosexual African American men reported the least difficulty and White homosexual men the most difficulty compared with heterosexual and bisexual peers. For homosexually-identified men, there were considerable differences across race/ethnicity in the proportion of partners who never or rarely disagreed to use condoms, with Asians disagreeing least and African Americans most. Within racial/ethnic groups, the levels of condom use and difficulty were similar for male and female partners, suggesting that it is sexual identity, rather than partner gender, that has impacted condom use messages. These data suggest that racial/ethnic targeting of condom use is likely to be most efficacious in increasing condom use in men.
doi:10.1258/095646205774763135
PMCID: PMC1343491  PMID: 16303069
HIV; AIDS; Condom use; Race; Ethnicity; Sexual identity
12.  Prevalence of Consensual Male–Male Sex and Sexual Violence, and Associations with HIV in South Africa: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001472.
Using a method that offered complete privacy to participants, Rachel Jewkes and colleagues conducted a survey among South African men about their lifetime same-sex experiences.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
In sub-Saharan Africa the population prevalence of men who have sex with men (MSM) is unknown, as is the population prevalence of male-on-male sexual violence, and whether male-on-male sexual violence may relate to HIV risk. This paper describes lifetime prevalence of consensual male–male sexual behavior and male-on-male sexual violence (victimization and perpetration) in two South African provinces, socio-demographic factors associated with these experiences, and associations with HIV serostatus.
Methods and Findings
In a cross-sectional study conducted in 2008, men aged 18–49 y from randomly selected households in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces provided anonymous survey data and dried blood spots for HIV serostatus assessment. Interviews were completed in 1,737 of 2,298 (75.6%) of enumerated and eligible households. From these households, 1,705 men (97.1%) provided data on lifetime history of same-sex experiences, and 1,220 (70.2%) also provided dried blood spots for HIV testing. 5.4% (n = 92) of participants reported a lifetime history of any consensual sexual activity with another man; 9.6% (n = 164) reported any sexual victimization by a man, and 3.0% (n = 51) reported perpetrating sexual violence against another man. 85.0% (n = 79) of men with a history of consensual sex with men reported having a current female partner, and 27.7% (n = 26) reported having a current male partner. Of the latter, 80.6% (n = 21/26) also reported having a female partner. Men reporting a history of consensual male–male sexual behavior are more likely to have been a victim of male-on-male sexual violence (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 7.24; 95% CI 4.26–12.3), and to have perpetrated sexual violence against another man (aOR = 3.10; 95% CI 1.22–7.90). Men reporting consensual oral/anal sex with a man were more likely to be HIV+ than men with no such history (aOR = 3.11; 95% CI 1.24–7.80). Men who had raped a man were more likely to be HIV+ than non-perpetrators (aOR = 3.58; 95% CI 1.17–10.9).
Conclusions
In this sample, one in 20 men (5.4%) reported lifetime consensual sexual contact with a man, while about one in ten (9.6%) reported experience of male-on-male sexual violence victimization. Men who reported having had sex with men were more likely to be HIV+, as were men who reported perpetrating sexual violence towards other men. Whilst there was no direct measure of male–female concurrency (having overlapping sexual relationships with men and women), the data suggest that this may have been common. These findings suggest that HIV prevention messages regarding male–male sex in South Africa should be mainstreamed with prevention messages for the general population, and sexual health interventions and HIV prevention interventions for South African men should explicitly address male-on-male sexual violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in the US, but it soon became clear that AIDS also infects heterosexual men and women. Now, three decades on, globally, 34 million people (two-thirds of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and half of whom are women) are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and 2.5 million people become infected every year. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner, and most sexual transmission of HIV now occurs during heterosexual sex. However, 5%–10% of all new HIV infections still occur in men who have sex with men (MSM; homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have consensual sex with men). Moreover, in the concentrated HIV epidemics of high-income countries (epidemics in which the prevalence of HIV infection is more than 5% in at-risk populations such as sex workers but less than 1% in the general population), male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important transmission route, and MSM often have a higher prevalence of HIV infection than heterosexual men.
Why Was This Study Done?
By contrast to high-income countries, HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa are generalized—the prevalence of HIV infection is 1% or more in the general population. Because male-to-male sexual behavior is criminalized in many African countries and because homosexuality is widely stigmatized, little is known about the prevalence of consensual male–male sexual behavior in sub-Saharan Africa. This information and a better understanding of male–female sexual concurrency (having overlapping sexual relationships with men and women) and of how male-to-male transmission contributes to generalized HIV epidemics is needed to inform the design of HIV prevention strategies for use in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, very little is known about male-on-male sexual violence. Such violence is potentially important to study because we know that male-on-female violence is associated with increased HIV risk for both victims and perpetrators. In this cross-sectional study (an investigation that measures population characteristics at a single time point), the researchers use data from a population-based household survey to investigate the lifetime prevalence of consensual male–male sexual behavior and male-on-male sexual violence (victimization and perpetration) among men in South Africa and the association of these experiences with HIV infection.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
About 1,700 adult men from randomly selected households in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa self-completed a survey that included questions about their lifetime history of same-sex experiences using audio-enhanced personal digital assistants, a data collection method that provided a totally private and anonymous environment for the disclosure of illegal and stigmatized behavior; 1,220 of them also provided dried blood spots for HIV testing. Ninety-two men (5.4% of the participants) reported consensual sexual activity (for example, anal or oral sex) with another man at some time during their life; 9.6% of the men reported that they had been forced to have sex with another man (sexual victimization), and 3% reported that they had perpetrated sexual violence against another man. Most of the men who reported consensual sex with men, including those with current male partners, reported that they had a current female partner. Men with a history of consensual male–male sexual behavior were more likely to have been a victim or perpetrator of male-on-male sexual violence than men without a history of such experiences. Finally, men who reported consensual oral or anal sex with a man were more likely to be HIV+ than men without such a history, and perpetrators of male-on-male sexual violence were more likely to be HIV+ than non-perpetrators.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide new information about male–male sexual behaviors, male-on-male sexual violence, male–female concurrency, and HIV prevalence among men in two South African provinces. The precision of these findings is likely to be affected by the small numbers of men reporting a history of consensual male–male sexual behavior and of male-on-male sexual violence. Importantly, because the study was cross-sectional, these findings cannot indicate whether the association between consensual male–male sexual behaviors and increased risk of male-on-male sexual violence is causal. Moreover, these findings may not be generalizable to other regions of South Africa or to other African countries. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that information about the risks of male–male sexual behaviors should be included in HIV prevention strategies targeted at the general population in South Africa and that HIV prevention interventions for South African men should explicitly address male-on-male sexual violence. Similar HIV prevention strategies may also be suitable for other African countries, but are likely to succeed only in countries that have, like South Africa, decriminalized consensual homosexual behavior.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001472.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Jerome Singh
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, including summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and men who have sex with men, on HIV prevention, and on AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert; the charity website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001472
PMCID: PMC3708702  PMID: 23853554
13.  The associations of gender, sexual identity and competing needs with healthcare utilization among people with HIV/AIDS. 
Studies report gender differences in medical service utilization among persons with HIV, although most compare women to heterogeneous groups of men. Competing needs for medical care of women may contribute to those differences. We examined prospectively the role that competing social, economic and health needs, such as caring for others, play in gender differences in hospital, ambulatory and emergency room (ER) visits. We considered sexual identity to study women, gay/bisexual men and heterosexual men in the most recent wave (n = 1,385) of the HCSUS, a nationally representative sample of persons with HIV/AIDS in care in the United States. We considered gay/bisexual men and heterosexual men separately because their different resources and social networks may lead to disparate service utilization. Multivariate regression showed that women were more likely than gay/bisexual men to be hospitalized, while women and gay/bisexual men were more likely than heterosexual men to use the ER without subsequent hospitalization. Controlling for competing needs eliminated neither difference but predicted hospitalization and ER use. Findings suggest that addressing competing needs could reduce unnecessary hospitalization and ER use for both genders. Furthermore, examinations of gender differences in service use should include sexual identity.
PMCID: PMC2569651  PMID: 17444432
14.  Health Disparities Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Older Adults: Results From a Population-Based Study 
American journal of public health  2013;103(10):1802-1809.
Objectives
We investigated health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults aged 50 years and older.
Methods
We analyzed data from the 2003–2010 Washington State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n = 96 992) on health outcomes, chronic conditions, access to care, behaviors, and screening by gender and sexual orientation with adjusted logistic regressions.
Results
LGB older adults had higher risk of disability, poor mental health, smoking, and excessive drinking than did heterosexuals. Lesbians and bisexual women had higher risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity, and gay and bisexual men had higher risk of poor physical health and living alone than did heterosexuals. Lesbians reported a higher rate of excessive drinking than did bisexual women; bisexual men reported a higher rate of diabetes and a lower rate of being tested for HIV than did gay men.
Conclusions
Tailored interventions are needed to address the health disparities and unique health needs of LGB older adults. Research across the life course is needed to better understand health disparities by sexual orientation and age, and to assess subgroup differences within these communities.
doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301110
PMCID: PMC3770805  PMID: 23763391
15.  Sexual Orientation and Testing for Prostate and Colorectal Cancers among Men in California 
Medical care  2008;46(12):1240-1248.
Background
Previous quantitative studies have not compared the use of prostate and colorectal cancer testing between gay/bisexual and heterosexual men.
Methods
We analyzed cross-sectional data on 19,410 men in the California Health Interview Survey. The percentage of respondents age 50 and over who received prostate and colorectal cancer tests was calculated across subgroups defined by self-reported sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and a combined variable on sexual orientation and race/ethnicity. Multivariate regression analysis was used to identify variables on respondent characteristics that were independently associated with testing.
Results
In bivariate analyses, the percentage of gay/bisexual men receiving colorectal cancer tests was 6%-10% greater than that of heterosexuals. There were no overall differences in prostate-specific antigen test use between gay/bisexual and heterosexual men; however, use of these tests by gay/bisexual African Americans was 12%–14% lower than that of heterosexual African Americans and 15%–28% lower than that of gay/bisexual Whites. In multivariate analyses, gay/bisexual men had greater odds of ever receiving colorectal cancer tests (odds ratio [OR]=1.67; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.06, 2.65), and lower odds of having an up-to-date prostate-specific antigen test than did heterosexuals (OR=0.61; CI=0.42, 0.89). However, interactions between sexual orientation and living situation showed that gay/bisexual men who lived alone had greater odds of receiving prostate-specific antigen tests than did other men (OR=1.93; CI=1.23, 3.03).
Conclusions
Sexual orientation is independently associated with cancer testing among men. Future work should investigate the differences in this association by race/ethnicity and living situation.
doi:10.1097/MLR.0b013e31817d697f
PMCID: PMC2659454  PMID: 19300314
Preventive services; prostate cancer; colorectal cancer; men; sexuality
16.  Stress mediates the relationship between sexual orientation and behavioral risk disparities 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:401.
Background
Growing evidence documents elevated behavioral risk among sexual-minorities, including gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals; however, tests of biological or psychological indicators of stress as explanations for these disparities have not been conducted.
Methods
Data were from the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and included 9662 participants; 9254 heterosexuals, 153 gays/lesbians and 255 bisexuals. Associations between sexual orientation and tobacco, alcohol, substance, and marijuana use, and body mass index, were tested using the chi-square test. Stress, operationalized as depressive symptoms and elevated C-reactive protein, was tested as mediating the association between sexual orientation and behavioral health risks. Multiple logistic regression was used to test for mediation effects, and the Sobel test was used to evaluate the statistical significance of the meditating effect.
Results
Gays/lesbians and bisexuals were more likely to report current smoking (p < .001), a lifetime history of substance use (p < .001), a lifetime history of marijuana use (p < .001), and a lifetime period of risky drinking (p = .0061). The largest disparities were observed among bisexuals. Depressive symptoms partially mediated the association between sexual orientation and current smoking (aOR 2.04, 95% CI 1.59, 2.63), lifetime history of substance use (aOR 3.30 95% CI 2.20, 4.96), and lifetime history of marijuana use (aOR 2.90, 95% CI 2.02, 4.16), among bisexuals only. C-reactive protein did not mediate the sexual orientation/behavior relationship.
Conclusion
Higher prevalence of current smoking and lifetime history of substance use was observed among sexual minorities compared to heterosexuals. Among bisexuals, depressive symptoms accounted for only 0.9-3% of the reduction in the association between sexual orientation and marijuana use and tobacco use, respectively. More comprehensive assessments of stress are needed to inform explanations of the disparities in behavioral risk observed among sexual minorities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-401
PMCID: PMC4038400  PMID: 24767172
Sexual minorities; Health-related disparities; Substance use; Depressive symptoms; CRP
17.  Demographic, Psychological, and Social Characteristics of Self-Identified Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults in a US Probability Sample 
Using data from a US national probability sample of self-identified lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults (N = 662), this article reports population parameter estimates for a variety of demographic, psychological, and social variables. Special emphasis is given to information with relevance to public policy and law. Compared with the US adult population, respondents were younger, more highly educated, and less likely to be non-Hispanic White, but differences were observed between gender and sexual orientation groups on all of these variables. Overall, respondents tended to be politically liberal, not highly religious, and supportive of marriage equality for same-sex couples. Women were more likely than men to be in a committed relationship. Virtually all coupled gay men and lesbians had a same-sex partner, whereas the vast majority of coupled bisexuals were in a heterosexual relationship. Compared with bisexuals, gay men and lesbians reported stronger commitment to a sexual-minority identity, greater community identification and involvement, and more extensive disclosure of their sexual orientation to others. Most respondents reported experiencing little or no choice about their sexual orientation. The importance of distinguishing among lesbians, gay men, bisexual women, and bisexual men in behavioral and social research is discussed.
doi:10.1007/s13178-010-0017-y
PMCID: PMC2927737  PMID: 20835383
Lesbians; Gay men; Bisexuals; Public policy; Sampling; Survey research; Committed relationships; Politics and religion; Identity, community, and disclosure
18.  Mental health and substance use disorders among Latino and Asian American lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults 
Growing evidence suggests that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults may be at elevated risk for mental health and substance use disorders, possibly due to anti-gay stigma. Little of this work has examined putative excess morbidity among ethnic/racial minorities resulting from the experience of multiple sources of discrimination. We report findings from the National Latino and Asian American Survey (NLAAS), a national household probability psychiatric survey of 4,488 Latino and Asian American adults. Approximately 4.8% of persons interviewed identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or reported recent same-gender sexual experiences. Although few sexual orientation-related differences were observed, among men, gay/bisexual men were more likely than heterosexual men to report a recent suicide attempt. Among women, lesbian/bisexual women were more likely than heterosexual women to evidence positive 1-year and lifetime histories of depressive disorders. These findings suggest a small elevation in psychiatric morbidity risk among Latino and Asian American individuals with a minority sexual orientation. However, the level of morbidity among sexual orientation minorities in the NLAAS appears similar to or lower than that observed in population-based studies of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults.
doi:10.1037/0022-006X.75.5.785
PMCID: PMC2676845  PMID: 17907860
gay; lesbian; bisexual; Latino; Asian-American; psychiatric epidemiology
19.  Are HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men Emerging in the Middle East and North Africa?: A Systematic Review and Data Synthesis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(8):e1000444.
A systematic review by Laith Abu-Raddad and colleagues collates and analyzes the epidemiology of HIV among men who have sex with men in Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Background
Men who have sex with men (MSM) bear a disproportionately higher burden of HIV infection than the general population. MSM in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are a largely hidden population because of a prevailing stigma towards this type of sexual behavior, thereby limiting the ability to assess infection transmission patterns among them. It is widely perceived that data are virtually nonexistent on MSM and HIV in this region. The objective of this review was to delineate, for the first time, the evidence on the epidemiology of HIV among MSM in MENA.
Methods and Findings
This was a systematic review of all biological, behavioral, and other related data on HIV and MSM in MENA. Sources of data included PubMed (Medline), international organizations' reports and databases, country-level reports and databases including governmental and nongovernmental organization publications, and various other institutional documents. This review showed that onsiderable data are available on MSM and HIV in MENA. While HIV prevalence continues at low levels among different MSM groups, HIV epidemics appear to be emerging in at least few countries, with a prevalence reaching up to 28% among certain MSM groups. By 2008, the contribution of MSM transmission to the total HIV notified cases increased and exceeded 25% in several countries. The high levels of risk behavior (4–14 partners on average in the last six months among different MSM populations) and of biomarkers of risks (such as herpes simplex virus type 2 at 3%–54%), the overall low rate of consistent condom use (generally below 25%), the relative frequency of male sex work (20%–76%), and the substantial overlap with heterosexual risk behavior and injecting drug use suggest potential for further spread.
Conclusions
This systematic review and data synthesis indicate that HIV epidemics appear to be emerging among MSM in at least a few MENA countries and could already be in a concentrated state among several MSM groups. There is an urgent need to expand HIV surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services in a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to prevent the worst of HIV transmission among MSM in the Middle East and North Africa.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in the US. But, as the disease rapidly spread, it became clear that AIDS also affects heterosexual men and women. Now three decades on, more than 30 million people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner and, globally, most sexual transmission of HIV now occurs during heterosexual sex. However, 5%–10% of all new HIV infections still occur in men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). In some countries, male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important transmission route. Moreover, although the global prevalence of HIV infection (the proportion the world's population infected with HIV) has stabilized, the prevalence of HIV infection among MSM seems to be increasing in multiple countries and new and resurgent HIV epidemics among MSM populations are being frequently reported.
Why Was This Study Done?
In the US and the UK, the MSM population is visible and has helped to raise awareness about the risks of HIV transmission through male-to-male sexual contact. In many other countries, MSM are much less visible, fearing discrimination, stigmatization (being considered socially unacceptable) or arrest. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA, a geographical region that encompasses countries that share historical, socio-cultural, linguistic and religious characteristics), MSM are the most hidden HIV risk group. Consequently, very little is known about HIV transmission patterns among MSM in MENA. Indeed, it is widely thought that there is virtually no information available on the epidemiology (causes, distribution, and control) of HIV among MSM in this region. In this systematic review and data synthesis, the researchers use predefined search criteria to identify all the published and unpublished data on the epidemiology of HIV among MSM in MENA and combine (synthesize) these data to produce a coherent picture of the HIV epidemic in this potentially key group of people for HIV transmission in this region.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 26 articles and 51 other country-level reports and sources of data that included data on the prevalence of male-to-male sexual contact, HIV transmission, levels of high-risk behavior, and the extent of knowledge about HIV among MSM in MENA. The prevalence of HIV infection among MSM was low in most countries but high in others. For example, the infection rate in Pakistan was 27.6% among one MSM group. Importantly, there was some evidence of increasing HIV prevalence and emerging epidemics among MSM in the region. Thus, by 2008, MSM transmission was responsible for more than a quarter of notified cases of HIV in several countries. Worryingly, MSM were involved in several types of HIV-related high risk behavior. For example, they had, on average, between 4 and 14 sexual partners in the past six months, their rates of consistent condom use were generally below 25% and, in some countries, MSM frequently reported injecting drug use, another common mode of HIV transmission. In addition, 20%–75.5% of MSM exchanged sex for money and contact between MSM and female sex workers and other female sexual partners was often common. Finally, although the level of basic knowledge about HIV/AIDS was high, the level of comprehensive knowledge was limited with a high proportion of MSM perceiving their risk of contracting HIV as low.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that there is considerable and increasing data about HIV transmission and risk behavior among MSM in MENA. However, the quality of this evidence varies greatly. Little has been collected over time in individual populations and, because only the visible part of the MSM populations in many MENA countries has been sampled, these findings may not be representative of all MSM in this region. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that HIV epidemics are emerging among MSM in several MENA countries. Importantly, the high levels of risk behaviors practiced by many MSM in MENA mean that MSM could become the pivotal risk group for HIV transmission in this region in the next decade. There is, therefore, an urgent need to expand HIV surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment services among MSM in this region to limit the size of the HIV epidemic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000444.
Information about the status of the HIV epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa can be found in the World Bank/UNAIDS/WHO report Characterizing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for strategic action
Information about the global HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men can be found in the World Bank report The Global HIV Epidemics among Men Who Have Sex with Men
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV transmission and transmission in gay men and other MSM and on safer sex
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV, AIDS and men who have sex with men and on HIV and AIDS prevention (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have information about HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000444
PMCID: PMC3149074  PMID: 21829329
20.  Men’s self-definitions of abusive childhood sexual experiences, and potentially related risky behavioral and psychiatric outcomes 
Child abuse & neglect  2007;32(1):83-97.
Objectives
To estimate how many heterosexual and gay/bisexual men self-define abusive childhood sexual experiences (CSEs) to be childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and to assess whether CSA self-definition is associated with risky behavioral and psychiatric outcomes in adulthood.
Methods
In Philadelphia County, 197 (66%) of 298 recruited men participated in a telephone survey. They were screened for CSEs and then asked if they self-defined abusive CSEs to be CSA; they also were asked about risk behavior histories and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms.
Results
Of 43 (22%) participants with abusive CSEs, 35% did not and 65% did self-define abusive CSEs to be CSA (“Non-Definers” and “Definers,” respectively). Heterosexual and gay/bisexual subgroups’ CSA self-definition rates did not significantly differ. When self-definition subgroups were compared to those without CSEs (“No-CSEs”), Non-Definers had lower perceived parental care (p = .007) and fewer siblings (p = .03), Definers had more Hispanics and fewer African Americans (p = .04), and No-CSEs had fewer gay/bisexual men (p = .002) and fewer reports of physical abuse histories (p = .02) than comparison groups. Non-Definers reported more sex under the influence (p = .001) and a higher mean number of all lifetime sex partners (p = .004) as well as (only) female sex partners (p = .05). More Non-Definers than Definers reported having experienced penetrative sex as part of their CSA (83% versus 35%, p = .006). Different explanations about self-definition were provided by subgroups.
Conclusions
Many men with abusive CSEs do not self-define these CSEs to be CSA, though not in a way that differs by sexual identity. The process by which men self-define their abusive CSEs to be CSA or not appears to be associated not only with self-explanations that differ by self-definition subgroup, but also with behavioral outcomes that impart risk to Non-Definers.
doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2007.09.005
PMCID: PMC2253212  PMID: 18035415
Sexual abuse; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Depression; HIV risk behavior; Men
21.  Disproportionate Exposure to Early-Life Adversity and Sexual Orientation Disparities in Psychiatric Morbidity 
Child abuse & neglect  2012;36(9):645-655.
Objectives
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations exhibit elevated rates of psychiatric disorders compared to heterosexuals, and these disparities emerge early in the life course. We examined the role of exposure to early-life victimization and adversity—including physical and sexual abuse, homelessness, and intimate partner violence—in explaining sexual orientation disparities in mental health among adolescents and young adults.
Methods
Data were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Wave 3 (2001–2002), a nationally representative survey of adolescents. Participants included gay/lesbian (n=227), bisexual (n=245), and heterosexual (n=13,490) youths, ages 18–27. We examined differences in the prevalence of exposure to child physical or sexual abuse, homelessness or expulsion from one’s home by caregivers, and physical and sexual intimate partner violence according to sexual orientation. Next we examined the associations of these exposures with symptoms of psychopathology including suicidal ideation and attempts, depression, binge drinking, illicit drug use, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse. Finally, we determined whether exposure to victimization and adversity explained the association between sexual orientation and psychopathology.
Results
Gay/lesbian and bisexual respondents had higher levels of psychopathology than heterosexuals across all outcomes. Gay/lesbian respondents had higher odds of exposure to child abuse and housing adversity, and bisexual respondents had higher odds of exposure to child abuse, housing adversity, and intimate partner violence, than heterosexuals. Greater exposure to these adversities explained between 10–20% of the relative excess of suicidality, depression, tobacco use, and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse among LGB youths compared to heterosexuals. Exposure to victimization and adversity experiences in childhood and adolescence significantly mediated the association of both gay/lesbian and bisexual orientation with suicidality, depressive symptoms, tobacco use, and alcohol abuse.
Conclusions
Exposure to victimization in early-life family and romantic relationships explains, in part, sexual orientation disparities in a wide range of mental health and substance use outcomes, highlighting novel targets for preventive interventions aimed at reducing these disparities.
doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.07.004
PMCID: PMC3445753  PMID: 22964371
22.  Measurement of Sexual Identity in Surveys: Implications for Substance Abuse Research 
Archives of Sexual Behavior  2011;41(3):649-657.
Researchers are increasingly recognizing the need to include measures of sexual orientation in health studies. However, relatively little attention has been paid to how sexual identity, the cognitive aspect of sexual orientation, is defined and measured. Our study examined the impact of using two separate sexual identity question formats: a three-category question (response options included heterosexual, bisexual, or lesbian/gay), and a similar question with five response options (only lesbian/gay, mostly lesbian/gay, bisexual, mostly heterosexual, only heterosexual). A large probability-based sample of undergraduate university students was surveyed and a randomly selected sub-sample of participants was asked both sexual identity questions. Approximately one-third of students who identified as bisexual based on the three-category sexual identity measure chose “mostly heterosexual” or “mostly lesbian/gay” on the five-category measure. In addition to comparing sample proportions of lesbian/gay, bisexual, or heterosexual participants based on the two question formats, rates of alcohol and other drug use were also examined among the participants. Substance use outcomes among the sexual minority subgroups differed based on the sexual identity question format used: bisexual participants showed greater risk of substance use in analyses using the three-category measure whereas “mostly heterosexual” participants were at greater risk when data were analyzed using the five-category measure. Study results have important implications for the study of sexual identity, as well as whether and how to recode responses to questions related to sexual identity.
doi:10.1007/s10508-011-9768-7
PMCID: PMC3233651  PMID: 21573706
Sexual orientation; Sexual identity; Substance use; College students
23.  Protective Factors in the Lives of Bisexual Adolescents in North America 
American journal of public health  2008;99(1):110-117.
Objectives
We compared protective factors among bisexual adolescents with those of heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, and gay or lesbian adolescents.
Methods
We analyzed 6 school-based surveys in Minnesota and British Columbia. Sexual orientation was measured by gender of sexual partners, attraction, or self-labeling. Protective factors included family connectedness, school connectedness, and religious involvement. General linear models, conducted separately by gender and adjusted for age, tested differences between orientation groups.
Results
Bisexual adolescents reported significantly less family and school connectedness than did heterosexual and mostly heterosexual adolescents and higher or similar levels of religious involvement. In surveys that measured orientation by self-labeling or attraction, levels of protective factors were generally higher among bisexual than among gay and lesbian respondents. Adolescents with sexual partners of both genders reported levels of protective factors lower than or similar to those of adolescents with same-gender partners.
Conclusions
Bisexual adolescents had lower levels of most protective factors than did heterosexual adolescents, which may help explain their higher prevalence of risky behavior. Social connectedness should be monitored by including questions about protective factors in youth health surveys.
doi:10.2105/AJPH.2007.123109
PMCID: PMC2636603  PMID: 19008523
24.  HIV prevalence and risk behaviors among men who have sex with men and inject drugs in San Francisco 
The dual risks of male-to-male sex and drug injection have put men who have sex with men and inject drugs (MSM-IDU) at the forefront of the HIV epidemic, with the highest rates of infection among any risk group in the United States. This study analyzes data collected from 357 MSM-IDU in San Francisco between 1998 and 2002 to examine how risk behaviors differ by HIV serostatus and self-identified sexual orientation and to assess medical and social service utilization among HIV-positive MSM-IDU. Twenty-eight percent of the sample tested HIV antibody positive. There was little difference in risk behaviors between HIV-negative and HIV-positive MSM-IDU. Thirty percent of HIV-positive MSM-IDU reported distributive syringe sharing, compared to 40% of HIV negatives. Among MSM-IDU who reported anal intercourse in past 6 months, 70% of positives and 66% of HIV negatives reported unprotected anal intercourse. HIV status varied greatly by self-identified sexual orientation: 46% among gay, 24% among bisexual, and 14% among heterosexual MSM-IDU. Heterosexual MSM-IDU were more likely than other MSM-IDU to be homeless and to trade sex for money or drugs. Gay MSM-IDU were more likely to have anal intercourse. Bisexual MSM-IDU were as likely as heterosexual MSM-IDU to have sex with women and as likely as gay-identified MSM-IDU to have anal intercourse. Among MSM-IDU who were HIV positive, 15% were currently on antiretroviral therapy and 18% were currently in drug treatment, and 87% reported using a syringe exchange program in the past 6 months. These findings have implications for the development of HIV interventions that target the diverse MSM-IDU population.
doi:10.1093/jurban/jti023
PMCID: PMC3456175  PMID: 15738321
MSM; Injection drug user; Methamphetamine; HIV; Epidemiology; MSM-IDU; Sexual risk
25.  Sexual Orientation Disparities in Sexually Transmitted Infections: Examining the Intersection Between Sexual Identity and Sexual Behavior 
Archives of sexual behavior  2012;42(2):225-236.
The terms MSM (men who have sex with men) and WSW (women who have sex with women) have been used with increasing frequency in the public health literature to examine sexual orientation disparities in sexual health. These categories, however, do not allow researchers to examine potential differences in sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk by sexual orientation identity. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, this study investigated the relationship between self-reported STIs and both sexual orientation identity and sexual behaviors. Additionally, this study examined the mediating role of victimization and STI risk behaviors on the relationship between sexual orientation and self-reported STIs. STI risk was found to be elevated among heterosexual-WSW and bisexual women, whether they report same-sex partners or not, whereas gay-identified WSW were less likely to report an STI compared to heterosexual women with opposite sex relationships only. Among males, heterosexual-identified MSM did not have a greater likelihood of reporting an STI diagnosis; rather, STI risk was concentrated among gay and bisexual identified men who reported both male and female sexual partners. STI risk behaviors mediated the STI disparities among both males and females, and victimization partially mediated STI disparities among female participants. These results suggest that relying solely on behavior-based categories, such as MSM and WSW, may mischaracterize STI disparities by sexual orientation.
doi:10.1007/s10508-012-9902-1
PMCID: PMC3575167  PMID: 22350122
Sexual orientation identity; same-sex behavior; STIs; victimization; gender

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