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Lesbian women less likely to receive birth control counseling, prescription

While lesbian women were less likely to report receiving a birth control prescription or birth control counseling compared with heterosexual women, they were more likely to report having received sexually transmitted infection (STI) counseling, testing, or treatment.

Image used for illustration purpose only; photo by Jairo Alzate from Unsplash.com

Lesbian women were less likely to report receiving a birth control prescription or birth control counseling compared with heterosexual women. However, they were more likely to report having received sexually transmitted infection (STI) counseling, testing, or treatment, after adjusting for sexual partners in the past 12 months.

This is according to a new study that used data from the National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2015, and published in Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Bethany Everett, PhD, University of Utah (Salt Lake City), and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) and the University of Chicago (IL), investigated sexual orientation disparities in the use of sexual and reproductive health services and receipt of contraceptive counseling in clinical settings in the past 12 months.

In the article titled, “Do Sexual Minorities Receive Appropriate Sexual and Reproductive Health Care and Counseling?” the researchers also explored whether having male sex partners influenced sexual minority women’s use of sexual and reproductive health services and the types of sexual health information that they received.

The researchers found that, in a clinical setting, lesbian women were less likely to report receiving birth control counseling at a pregnancy test and lesbian women without recent male sex partners were less likely to report receiving counseling about condom use at an STI-related visit compared with heterosexual women. 

“This new research emphasizes the importance of considering both sexual orientation and recent sexual behaviors when addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of sexual minority women,” said Susan G. Kornstein, MD, editor in chief of Journal of Women’s Health and executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA. “Using inclusive sexual and reproductive health counseling scripts may facilitate the delivery of appropriate sexual health-related information.”

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