3F 3 Factors Associated with STD Testing Among Self-Identified Lesbian and Bisexual Women in the US and UK

Wednesday, June 11, 2014: 11:05 AM
Lisa Lindley, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Department of Global & Community Health, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, Vanessa Schick, PhD, Division of Management, Policy and Community Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX and Joshua Rosenberger, PhD, Department of Global and Community Health, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Background:  Limited research has explored STD testing among sexual minority (non-heterosexual) women despite documented STD transmission between women.  The purpose of this study was to determine individual and behavioral factors associated with an STD test (past year) among a sample of self-identified lesbian and bisexual women living in the US and UK.

Methods: More than 4,500 English-speaking women from 67 countries completed an internet-based survey. The sample was restricted to females who identified as gay/lesbian or bisexual, were aged 18 years or older, resided in the US or UK, and responded to all items of relevance (n=2,713). Individual factors included age, race/ethnicity, education, relationship status, country of residence, sexual identity, and self-described femininity/masculinity. Sexual behaviors included age of first sex with a woman, past year history of performing oral sex on a woman or man, and lifetime history of vaginal or anal intercourse with a man. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with recent STD testing.

Results: Most respondents were White (89.1%), self-identified as gay/lesbian (79.1%), and feminine/femme (70.6%). Participants ranged in age from 18-69 years (M=29.62, SD=9.26). Nearly one-third (31.3%) of respondents (n=848) said they had received a STD test in the past year.  In unadjusted models, women who identified as bisexual were nearly twice as likely as gay/lesbian identified women to have had an STD test in the past year; while masculine/butch identified women were 30% less likely to have had an STD test than feminine/femme identified women. This relationship remained significant after adjusting for other individual factors.  However, after adjusting for sexual behaviors, associations between sexual identity, femininity/masculinity and STD testing became non-significant, suggesting that sexual behaviors may mediate this relationship.

Conclusions: Results can be used to inform STD testing and prevention efforts targeting sexual minority women in the US and UK.