Sexual Minority Health Disparities in Adult Men and Women in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2010

Am J Public Health. 2015 Oct;105(10):e27-34. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302762. Epub 2015 Aug 13.


Objectives: We used nationally representative data to investigate health disparities associated with sexual minority status among adults in the United States.

Methods: We analyzed data from 11,114 adults who participated in the 2001 to 2010 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Using multiple logistic regressions, we examined the prevalence of HIV, sexually transmitted infections, mental health problems, cigarette smoking, and alcohol and illicit drug use in sexual minorities and heterosexual adults.

Results: After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, sexual minority men had greater odds of mental health problems, testing positive for HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 and self-reported gonorrhea and chlamydia. Sexual minority women had greater odds of mental health problems, testing positive for hepatitis C, smoking, heavy drinking, and illicit drug use.

Conclusions: Numerous health disparities continue to face sexual minority men and women in the United States. Notably, health disparities persisted beyond the role of sociodemographic factors, including access to insurance and primary care, suggesting that further research is warranted to identify the determinants of health inequity for sexual minorities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Health*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Sexuality*
  • United States / epidemiology