Objectives: Reproductive health screenings are a necessary part of quality health care. However, sexual minorities underutilize Papanicolaou (Pap) tests more than heterosexuals do, and the reasons are not known. Our objective was to examine if less hormonal contraceptive use or less positive health beliefs about Pap tests explain sexual orientation disparities in Pap test intention and utilization.
Methods: We used multivariable regression with prospective data gathered from 3821 females aged 18 to 25 years in the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS).
Results: Among lesbians, less hormonal contraceptive use explained 8.6% of the disparities in Pap test intention and 36.1% of the disparities in Pap test utilization. Less positive health beliefs associated with Pap testing explained 19.1% of the disparities in Pap test intention. Together, less hormonal contraceptive use and less positive health beliefs explained 29.3% of the disparities in Pap test intention and 42.2% of the disparities in Pap test utilization.
Conclusions: Hormonal contraceptive use and health beliefs, to a lesser extent, help to explain sexual orientation disparities in intention and receipt of a Pap test, especially among lesbians.