LGB adults more likely to report impaired physical & mental health, substance use, due to discrimination stressors

JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 27, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3432

New national data suggest lesbian, gay and bisexual adults were more likely to report impaired physical and mental health and heavy drinking and smoking, which may be the result of stressors they experience because of discrimination, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study objective was to compare health and health risk factors between LGB adults and heterosexual adults in the United States.

This study supports prior research finding substantial health disparities for LGB adults in the United States, potentially due to the stressors that LGB people experience as a result of interpersonal and structural discrimination. In screening for health issues, clinicians should be sensitive to the needs of sexual minority patients.

  • Access journal paper (free full text) here
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Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance: United States

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 10, 2016

The CDC has released the report: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance —  United States 2015.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System monitors six categories of priority health behaviors among youth and young adults: 1) behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; 2) tobacco use; 3) alcohol and other drug use; 4) sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; 5) unhealthy dietary behaviors; and 6) physical inactivity.
A national school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is conducted by CDC and  by state and local education and health agencies. This report summarizes results for 118 health behaviors from surveys conducted among students in grades 9–12.

Relating to sex, the following behaviours were summarised:

Sexual Behaviors Related to Unintended Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections, Including HIV Infection
  • Ever Had Sexual Intercourse
  • Had First Sexual Intercourse Before Age 13 Years
  • Had Sexual Intercourse with Four or More Persons During Their Life
  • Currently Sexually Active
  • Condom Use
  • Birth Control Pill Use
  • IUD or Implant Use
  • Shot, Patch, or Birth Control Ring Use
  • Birth Control Pill; IUD or Implant; or Shot, Patch, or Birth Control Ring Use
  • Condom Use and Birth Control Pill; IUD or Implant; or Shot, Patch, or Birth Control Ring Use
  • Did Not Use Any Method to Prevent Pregnancy
  • Drank Alcohol or Used Drugs Before Last Sexual Intercourse
  • Tested for HIV

Behaviors that Contribute to Violence

  • Forced to Have Sexual Intercourse
  • Physical Dating Violence
  • Sexual Dating Violence
Many high school students are engaged in sexual risk behaviors related to unintended pregnancies and STIs, including HIV infection.
Nationwide, 41.2% of students had ever had sexual intercourse, 30.1% had had sexual intercourse during the 3 months before the survey (i.e., currently sexually active), and 11.5% had had sexual intercourse with four or more persons during their life. Among
currently sexually active students, 56.9% had used a condom during their last sexual intercourse.

Download report (PDF) here

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Casual Sex: Everyone Is Doing It

New Yorker,

Zhana Vrangalova has spent the past decade researching human sexuality, and, in particular, the kinds of sexual encounters that occur outside the norms of committed relationships. The Web site she started in 2014 began as a small endeavor fuelled by personal referrals, but has since grown to approximately five thousand visitors a day, most of whom arrive at the site through organic Internet searches or referrals through articles and social media. Vrangalova was offered an appointment at N.Y.U., where she remains, to further explore some of the issues surrounding the effects of nontraditional sexual behaviors on the individuals who engage in them.

  • Read more here
  • Access the Casual Sex Project here

 

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Does attractiveness influence condom use intentions in heterosexual men? An experimental study

BMJ Open, 2016;6:e010883 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-01088, 17 June 2016

Abstract

Objectives Judgements of attractiveness have been shown to influence the character of social interactions. The present study sought to better understand the relationship between perceived attractiveness, perceived sexual health status and condom use intentions in a heterosexual male population.

Setting The study employed an electronic questionnaire to collect all data, during face-to-face sessions.

Participants 51 heterosexual, English-speaking men aged between 18 and 69 years.

Outcome measures Men were asked to rate the attractiveness of 20 women on the basis of facial photographs, to estimate the likelihood that each woman had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and to indicate their willingness to have sex with or without a condom with each woman.

Results The more attractive a woman was judged to be on average, the more likely participants would be willing to have sex with her (p<0.0001) and the less likely they were to intend to use a condom during sex (p<0.0001). Multivariate analysis revealed that higher condom use intentions towards a particular woman were associated with lower ratings of her attractiveness (p<0.0005), higher ratings of her STI likelihood (p<0.0001), the participant being in an exclusive relationship (p=0.002), having a less satisfactory sex life (p=0.015), lower age (p=0.001), higher number of sexual partners (p=0.001), higher age at first intercourse (p=0.002), higher rates of condomless sex in the last 12 months (p<0.043) and lower confidence in their ability to assess whether or not a woman had an STI (p=0.001). The more attractive a participant judged himself to be, the more he believed that other men like him would engage in condomless sex (p=0.001) and the less likely he was to intend to use a condom himself (p=0.02).

Conclusions Male perceptions of attractiveness influence their condom use intentions; such risk biases could profitably be discussed during sex education sessions and in condom use promotion interventions.

Full text of paper (Open Access) available here

NB: The sample size of this study is small and not very diverse 

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State of Play: findings from the England Gay Men’s Sex Survey

Sigma Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, May 2016

The 2014 Gay Men’s Sex Survey was released this week. 15,360 men who have sex with men, living in England and aged 16 to 90 years, completed the online survey.

Findings included:

  • The proportion of men not happy with their sex lives was 41%.

 

  • The over 65s were most likely to be happy with their sex life.

 

  • Overall, 9% were living with diagnosed HIV infection and the annual incidence of new HIV diagnoses was 1.1%.

 

  • Among men with diagnosed HIV, 81% were on anti-HIV treatment,
    and 92% of those indicated their last viral load test result was undetectable.
  • The most common risk reduction tactics among men with diagnosed HIV
    were using lubricant for anal sex (73%), monitoring viral load (72%) and regular STI screenings (69%).
  • Among men without diagnosed HIV they were using lubricant for anal sex (77%), avoiding sex with men they thought had HIV (63%) and declining some sex partners (56%).
  • 61% of men indicated they had anal sex without a condom in the last 12 months; 14% had anal sex without condoms with both steady and non-steady partners in the last 12 months.
  • 7% had ever taken PEP, while 37% had never heard of PEP.
  • 42% of men with diagnosed HIV felt that alcohol or drugs had contributed to their acquiring HIV.
  • 20% had wanted a condom but not had access to one in the last 12 months and 14% had had condomless anal sex just because they did not have a condom.
  • Collective annual STI screening reached 52% of men (9% with symptoms, 43% without symptoms); and collective annual HIV testing reached 55%.
  • In counselling for men diagnosed with HIV, 29% were dissatisfied with the service they received.

 

Download report (PDF) here:

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