(1/291) Attitudes and interest in genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility in diverse groups of women in western Washington.

OBJECTIVES: This paper examines the knowledge, opinions, and predictors of interest in genetic testing for breast cancer risk in a demographically diverse group of women in western Washington who participated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of breast cancer risk counseling methods. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Four groups of women were surveyed, all with some family history of breast cancer: (a) 307 white women; (b) 36 African-American women; (c) 87 lesbian/bisexual women; and (d) 113 Ashkenazi Jewish women. As part of the baseline questionnaire for the RCT, participants were asked about their familiarity with genetic testing for breast cancer risk, their interest in such testing and opinions of it, and actions they anticipated based on test results. RESULTS: Women in all four groups favored ready access to testing, believed the decision to be tested should be a personal choice, believed that genetic test results should stay confidential, and were not greatly concerned that this might not be possible. Women anticipated using such genetic test results to increase the frequency of various breast cancer screening methods (in all four groups, > 69% would increase mammogram frequency, > 85% would increase clinician exam, and > 92% would increase breast self exam). Women overwhelmingly rejected prophylactic surgery as a preventive measure (in all > 80% probably or definitely would not consider it). Significant predictors of interest in genetic testing for cancer risk included perceived risk, cancer worry, and beliefs about access to testing. CONCLUSIONS: These data will be of interest to health care providers, payers, public health professionals, legislators, and others as they consider issues associated with population testing for susceptibility to common diseases such as breast cancer.  (+info)

(2/291) Sexual intercourse, abuse and pregnancy among adolescent women: does sexual orientation make a difference?

CONTEXT: Although a limited amount of research has retrospectively explored the childhood and adolescent heterosexual experiences of lesbians, little is known about the prevalence of heterosexual behavior and related risk factors or about pregnancy histories among lesbian and bisexual teenagers. METHODS: A secondary analysis was conducted using responses from a subsample of 3,816 students who completed the 1987 Minnesota Adolescent Health Survey. Behaviors, risk factors and pregnancy histories were compared among adolescents who identified themselves as lesbian or bisexual, as unsure of their sexual orientation and as heterosexual. RESULTS: Overall, bisexual or lesbian respondents were about as likely as heterosexual women ever to have had intercourse (33% and 29%, respectively), but they had a significantly higher prevalence of pregnancy (12%) and physical or sexual abuse (19-22%) than heterosexual or unsure adolescents. Among sexually experienced respondents, bisexual or lesbian and heterosexual women reported greater use of ineffective contraceptives (12-15% of those who used a method) than unsure adolescents (9%); bisexual or lesbian respondents were the most likely to have frequent intercourse (22%, compared with 15-17% of the other groups). In the sample overall, among those who were sexually experienced and among those who had ever been pregnant, bisexual or lesbian women were the most likely to have engaged in prostitution during the previous year. CONCLUSIONS: Providers of reproductive health care and family planning services should not assume that pregnant teenagers are heterosexual or that adolescents who say they are bisexual, lesbian or unsure of their sexual orientation are not in need of family planning counseling. Further research should explore the interactions between adolescent sexual identity development and sexual risk behaviors.  (+info)

(3/291) Intrauterine donor insemination in single women and lesbian couples: a comparative study of pregnancy rates.

The outcome of intrauterine donor insemination (IUI-DI) with frozen spermatozoa was analysed retrospectively in 675 cycles in single women (n = 122; 536 cycles) and lesbian (n = 35; 139 cycles) couples. The lesbian patients were younger at the initiation of treatment (mean 34.5 years; range 26-44) than the single women (mean 38.5; range 29-47) (P = 0.005). Clinical pregnancy rate was 36% in single women and 57% in lesbians (P < 0.05), the cumulative pregnancy rate after six cycles being 47% and 70% respectively, although the outcome was similar when related to age. The miscarriage rate was higher (35%) in single women than in lesbians (15%; P < 0.05), the rate being independent of maternal age. There were no apparent differences seen between the two groups with respect to the possible effect of parity, duration of infertility, causes of infertility and type of treatment at initiation of treatment; the sole exception was that the age of lesbian women was statistically significantly younger than that of single women (P < 0.005). When corrected for age, the pregnancy rates and complications were lower and higher respectively in single women but these differences did not reach statistical significance. However, the disparity between the treatment outcomes of single women and lesbian patients of similar ages may also reflect the fact that single women are likely to have failed to conceive for a period of time prior to referral to a specialist centre for treatment.  (+info)

(4/291) Gay and lesbian physicians in training: a qualitative study.

BACKGROUND: Gay and lesbian physicians in training face considerable challenges as they become professionalized. Qualitative research is necessary to understand the social and cultural factors that influence their medical training. In this study we explored the significance of gay or lesbian identity on the experiences of medical training using naturalistic methods of inquiry. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews, focus groups and an e-mail listserv were used to explore professional and personal issues of importance to 29 gay and lesbian medical students and residents in 4 Canadian cities. Data, time, method and investigator triangulation were used to identify and corroborate emerging themes. The domains explored included career choice, "coming out," becoming a doctor, the environment and career implications. RESULTS: Gay or lesbian medical students and residents experienced significant challenges. For all participants, sexual orientation had an effect on their decisions to enter and remain in medicine. Once in training, the safety of a variety of learning environments was of paramount importance, and it affected subsequent decisions about identity disclosure, residency and career path. Respondents' assessment of professional and personal risk was influenced by the presence of identifiable supports, curricula inclusive of gay and lesbian sexuality and health issues and effective policies censuring discrimination based on sexual orientation. The need for training programs to be proactive in acknowledging and supporting diversity was identified. INTERPRETATION: Considerable energy and emotion are spent by gay and lesbian medical students and residents navigating training programs, which may be, at best, indifferent and, at worst, hostile.  (+info)

(5/291) Internalized homophobia and health issues affecting lesbians and gay men.

This paper investigates the concept of internalized homophobia in both theory and research relating to lesbian and gay health. It offers a contemporary and critical review of research in this area, and discusses a range of recent findings relating to a range of health issues including HIV and AIDS. Whilst the concept has a resonance for gay men and lesbians, and is widely used in 'lesbian and gay-affirmative' interventions, the paper demonstrates that research findings have been equivocal and the term is often used without full consideration of its sociopolitical consequences. The paper concludes that the concept does have a valuable role to play in health promotion work with lesbians and gay men but invites further discussion and examination of the construct.  (+info)

(6/291) Use of preventive health behaviors by lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women: questionnaire survey.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether lesbians and bisexual women are less likely than heterosexual women to use preventive health measures. DESIGN: Written, anonymous, self-administered questionnaire. SETTING: 33 physicians' offices and community clinics mainly in urban areas of 13 states. PARTICIPANTS: 524 lesbians, 143 bisexual women, and 637 heterosexual women. RESULTS: Bisexual women were less likely than heterosexual women to have had appropriate cholesterol screening (odds ratio 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.11 to 0.73) or appropriate mammography (0.33, 0.13 to 0.84). Human immunodeficiency virus testing was more common in lesbians (2.38, 1. 51 to 3.74) and bisexual women (1.99, 1.17 to 3.38) than in heterosexual women. Illicit drug use was higher in lesbians (2.04, 1. 14 to 3.70) and bisexual women (1.96, 1.07 to 3.57) than in heterosexual women. Lesbians were more likely than heterosexual women to practice safer sex (2.60, 1.23 to 5.49) and less likely to have ever been infected with human papillomavirus (0.48, 0.25 to 0. 89). CONCLUSION: There were important differences in the preventive health measures taken by lesbians and bisexual women and those taken by heterosexual women. All patients should receive standard health tests, such as cholesterol screening and mammography, regardless of their sexual orientation. Lesbians and bisexual women who report illicit drug use should receive counseling, as appropriate.  (+info)

(7/291) Lesbians and cervical screening.

Confusion exists in clinical practice about whether lesbians should be offered routine cervical smears. We found cervical smear abnormalities in a sample of 624 lesbians, including those who had never been sexually active with men. These findings suggest that lesbians should be routinely offered cervical cytology as part of the national screening programme. Evidence of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in the 'exclusively lesbian' group indicates that sexual transmission of HPV may occur between women. The belief by some lesbians that they have less need for cervical smears, coupled with poor uptake of cervical screening by a significant proportion, demonstrates a need for education of lesbians and health service providers.  (+info)

(8/291) Sexually transmitted infections and risk behaviours in women who have sex with women.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses, risk behaviours, and demographics in women who have sex with women (WSW). METHODS: Retrospective cross sectional study using a multivariate model. Demographic, behavioural, and morbidity data were analysed from standardised medical records of patients attending a public STI and HIV service in Sydney between March 1991 and December 1998. All women with any history of sex with a woman were compared with women who denied ever having sex with another woman (controls). RESULTS: 1408 WSW and 1423 controls were included in the study. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) was significantly more common among WSW (OR 1.7, p < 0.001). Abnormalities on cervical cytology were equally prevalent in both groups, except for the higher cytological BV detection rate in WSW (OR 5.3, p = 0.003). Genital herpes and genital warts were common in both groups, although warts were significantly less common in WSW (OR 0.7, p = 0.001). Prevalence of gonorrhoea and chlamydia were low and there were no differences between the groups. The prevalence of hepatitis C was significantly greater in WSW (OR 7.7, p < 0.001), consistent with the more frequent history of injecting drug use in this group (OR 8.0, p < 0.001). WSW were more likely to report previous sexual contact with a homo/bisexual man (OR 3.4, p < 0.001), or with an injecting drug user (OR 4.2, p < 0.001). Only 7% of the WSW reported never having had sexual contact with a male. CONCLUSION: We demonstrated a higher prevalence of BV, hepatitis C, and HIV risk behaviours in WSW compared with controls. A similar prevalence of cervical cytology abnormalities was found in both groups. Measures are required to improve our understanding of STI/HIV transmission dynamics in WSW, to facilitate better health service provision and targeted education initiatives.  (+info)