Objectives: Gay and bisexual men may feel discomfort discussing sensitive topics such as sexual behaviors and substance use with their health providers, which may prevent them from receiving important health information. This study investigates whether patients' perceptions of their provider's sexual orientation predicts patient-provider discussions of sexual and general health topics, and whether this relationship is moderated by patients' disclosure of sexual orientation to providers.
Methods: Data were collected online from a sample of 576 gay and bisexual men living in the USA, aged 18-26. Adjusted risk ratios were estimated by using modified Poisson regression with robust error variance.
Results: Participants who believed their providers were gay or bisexual were more likely to have discussed sexual health topics, but not general health topics; simple slopes analyses revealed that this effect was stronger among those who had not disclosed to their providers. Disclosure was also consistently associated with increased likelihood of discussing almost all topics.
Conclusions: Findings highlight differences in communication based on disclosure and perceived sexual orientation of provider, suggesting the need to further explore how these differences influence young gay and bisexual men's health.
Practice implications: Dyads may be more likely to discuss sexual health topics when patients believe their providers are sexual minorities themselves. In addition, patient-provider dyads may be likelier to discuss various health topics when providers are aware of patients' sexual minority statuses.
Keywords: Gay and bisexual men; Health communication; LGBTQ; Sexual and gender minorities; Sexual health; Sexual minorities; Sexual orientation.
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