Young adult sexual minority women (YSMW) are at elevated risk for negative reproductive health outcomes, yet are less likely than heterosexual peers to utilize preventive health care. Medical and public health policy organizations advocate sexual orientation disclosure (“coming out”) to health care providers as a strategy for increasing service utilization among YSMW. Limited research explores relationships between disclosure and receipt of sexual health services. YSMW (N = 285) ages 21–24 participated in an online survey assessing their health behaviors and care utilization. We employed multivariable logistic regression models to examine the association between receipt of sexual health services and sexual orientation disclosure to provider, after adjusting for sociodemographic covariates. Thirty-five percent of YSMW were out to their provider. Less than half the sample had received Pap screening or STI testing in the previous year; approximately 15% had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccination. Disclosure was associated with increased likelihood of Pap screening (OR=2.66, p < .001) and HPV vaccination (OR=4.30, p < .001), but was not significantly associated with STI testing. Promoting coming out to providers may be a promising approach to increase sexual health care use among YSMW. Future research should explore causal relationships between these factors.
Sexuality Research and Social Policy – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 30, 2017
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