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Malaysian physicians expressed some degree of intention to discriminate against MSM – study

In Malaysia, most physicians expressed some degree of intention to discriminate against men who have sex with men (an umbrella term that also includes gay and bisexual men, members of the LGBTQIA community).

Photo by Yaopey Yong from Unsplash.com

Cases of medical malpractice in Malaysia?

A study found that in Malaysia, most physicians expressed some degree of intention to discriminate against men who have sex with men (an umbrella term that also includes gay and bisexual men, members of the LGBTQIA community).

The study – “Exploring Malaysian Physicians’ Intention to Discriminate Against Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men Patients” by Zhao Ni, Roman Shrestha, Valerie A. Earnshaw, et al – appeared in LGBT Health.

In this study, the researchers noted that as it is, “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men experience high levels of stigma and discrimination. Minimizing the stigma and discrimination is critical to fostering an inclusive environment for care and optimizing health outcomes.”

For this study, the researchers asked 542 physicians from two university-affiliated hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to complete an online cross-sectional survey between January and March 2016. Measures included sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, intention to discriminate against MSM, and several stigma-related constructs. Bivariate and multivariable linear regressions were used to evaluate independent correlates of discrimination intent against MSM.

The findings included:

  • Physicians’ intention to discriminate against MSM was low (mean [M] = 1.9, standard deviation [SD] = 0.7), but most physicians (70.6%) had a mean score greater than 1.0, indicating that most physicians expressed some degree of intention to discriminate against MSM.
  • A minority of physicians (10.7%) had a score of 3.0 or higher, revealing some physicians holding a moderate to high level of discrimination intent toward MSM.
  • The multivariable model demonstrated that physicians who expressed greater prejudice (B = 0.30, p < 0.01), had more MSM-related shame (B = 0.19, p < 0.01), and fear about MSM (B = 0.31, p < 0.01) were more likely to have the intention to discriminate against MSM.

The researchers stressed that “stigma-related constructs including prejudice, MSM-related shame, and fear were independently correlated with increases in a physician’s intention to discriminate against MSM. Therefore, implementing interventions to reduce physicians’ stigma toward MSM may promote equitable and stigma-free access to health care.”

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