Background: Despite the high human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) burden among men who have sex with men (MSM), there is little research on health services provided to MSM in China and other low- and middle-income countries. Discrimination and inadequate services may discourage MSM from seeking health care services. This study examined essential services provided to MSM and health care discrimination among MSM in China.
Methods: A nationwide cross-sectional online survey was conducted among MSM who saw a physician in the last 24 months in China. The survey included items on sociodemographic information, HIV testing, experiences from the last physician encounter, and history of perceived health care discrimination. We defined MSM-competent physicians as physicians who asked their patient about having sex with other men, asked about anal sex, and either asked about or recommended HIV testing at the most recent visit.
Results: Among the 503 participants, 35.0% (176/503) saw an MSM-competent physician. In multivariate analyses, respondents who saw an MSM-competent physician were more likely to be younger (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81-0.94), have a primary care physician (AOR, 3.24; 95% CI, 1.85-5.67), and be living with HIV (AOR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.13-3.56). 61.2% (308/503) of MSM had ever experienced health care discrimination.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that there is variability in the extent to which physicians are meeting the needs of MSM in China. There is an urgent need to evaluate and expand MSM-competent services in China.