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Coming Out To Your Provider: Positive Health Outcomes for Men Who Have Sex With Men

10 August 2019


Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) have significantly higher rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), rectal cancer, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as compared to men who have sex with women (MSW). This puts a large healthcare burden on the MSM community, which can be diminished with the correct testing and preventative care. This review looks at the effects of alerting a male’s healthcare provider that they are engaging in sex with other males.

Methods: An exhaustive search of available medical literature was performed using MEDLINE-PubMed, Google Scholar, and EBSCO-Host. Keywords used included: disclosure, homosexual male, MSM, healthcare providers, and health personnel. Studies were assessed for quality using GRADE criteria.

Results: Eleven articles were reviewed for relevancy. Four studies were found, all of which were observational. Of the 4 relevant studies found, 4 discussed HIV screening, 2 discussed other STI screening, and 1 looked at the delivery of the HPV vaccine. In each study, there was a statistically significant increase in the number of HIV and STI screenings as well as HPV vaccines given to MSM who disclosed to their providers over those who didn’t. The overall quality of the studies was low and studies with follow up or randomized trials would lead to more definitive research.

Conclusion: Disclosing to one’s healthcare provider that they are a MSM is necessary to provide the patient with the correct testing and preventative care.


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