Journal of General Internal Medicine
Background: Sexual minority men (SMM) face severe health inequities alongside negative experiences that drive avoidance of medical care. Understanding how SMM experience healthcare is paramount to improving this population's health. Patient-centered care, which emphasizes mutual respect and collaboration between patients and providers, may alleviate the disparaging effects of the homophobia that SMM face in healthcare settings.
Objective: To explore how SMM perceive their experiences with healthcare providers and how care can most effectively meet their needs.
Design: Semi-structured qualitative interviews focused on healthcare experiences, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and HIV-related beliefs were conducted between July and November 2018.
Participants: The study included a sample of 43 young adult SMM (ages 25-27), representing diverse socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, in New York City.
Approach: Researchers utilized a multiphase, systematic coding method to identify salient themes in the interview transcripts.
Key results: Analyses revealed three main themes: (1) SMM perceived that their clinicians often lack adequate skills and knowledge required to provide care that considers participants' identities and behaviors; (2) SMM desired patient-centered care as a way to regain agency and actively participate in making decisions about their health; and (3) SMM felt that patient-centered care was more common with providers who were LGBTQ-affirming, including many who felt that this was especially true for LGBTQ-identified providers.
Conclusions: SMM expressed a clear and strong desire for patient-centered approaches to care, often informed by experiences with healthcare providers who were unable to adequately meet their needs. However, widespread adoption of patient-centered care will require improving education and training for clinicians, with a focus on LGBTQ-specific clinical care and cultural humility. Through centering patients' preferences and experiences in the construction of care, patient-centered care can reduce health inequities among SMM and empower healthcare utilization in a population burdened by historic and ongoing stigmatization.
Hascher K, Jaiswal J, LoSchiavo C, Ezell J, Duffalo D, Greene RE, Cox A, Burton W, Griffin M, John T, Grin B, Halkitis PN. Lack of Informed and Affirming Healthcare for Sexual Minority Men: A Call for Patient-Centered Care. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2024; . doi: 10.1007/s11606-024-08635-8.