Gay and Bisexual Men Who Report Anal Sex Stigma Alongside Discomfort Discussing Anal Sex with Health Workers Are Less Likely to Have Ever Received an Anal Examination or Anal Swab

Bryan A. Kutner, Jane M. Simoni, Will Dewitt, Michael M. Gaisa, Theodorus G.M. Sandfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: We sought to determine whether stigma toward anal sexuality was associated with having ever received an anal examination or anal swab among gay and bisexual men (GBM). Methods: In 2017, we conducted a cross-sectional online survey with 1513 adult cisgender GBM living in the United States. We used structural equation modeling to test whether the Anal Sex Stigma Scales (a validated measure comprising provider stigma, self-stigma, and silence) was negatively associated with lifetime receipt of anorectal examination or anal swabbing by a medical provider. The model assessed mediation by respondents' comfort discussing anal sex practices with health workers and adjusted for possible confounders. Results: As hypothesized, anal sex stigma was associated with less comfort discussing anal sex (β = -0.44, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.50 to -0.38, p < 0.001), and greater comfort was associated with greater likelihood of screening (β = 0.28, 95% CI: 0.19 to 0.37, p < 0.001). The model demonstrated good fit (root mean square error of approximation = 0.045, comparative fit index, and Tucker-Lewis index each = 0.99) and adjusted for everyday discrimination, social support specific to anal sex, age, income, education, medical coverage, outness, and ethnic/racial identification. Collectively, model variables accounted for 48% of the variance in screening (p < 0.001). Conclusion: GBM who endorsed less anal sex stigma reported greater comfort discussing anal sex with health workers and were more likely to have ever received anal health screening by a medical provider. To improve anal health and cancer prevention among GBM, anal sex stigma and related discomfort discussing anal sex with health workers are targets for intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalLGBT Health
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • GBM (gay and bisexual men)
  • anal cancer
  • anal sexuality
  • health screening
  • sexually transmitted infections

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