Gynecological Infections and Sexual Practices of Massachusetts Lesbian and Bisexual Women
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Objective: The assumption that self-identified lesbians are at low risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and other gynecological infections may be premised upon infrequent screening, ignorance of lesbian sexual practices, and the discomfort that lesbians may feel concerning the disclosure of their sexual identity and behavior. We hypothesize that transmission between women may occur, and actual risk may depend upon the sexual behaviors as well as the number and gender of partners. Methods: In 1994, the Family Planning Council of Western Massachusetts developed a Lesbian Health Needs Assessment Survey. The Fenway Community Health Center (FCHC) supplemented the survey with a one-page STD questionnaire aimed at evaluating STD testing, diagnoses, and sexual practices among self-identified lesbian and bisexual women. Circulated only in eastern Massachusetts, 421 of the 1523 surveys, including the one-page STD supplement, that were distributed were returned. The prevalence of specific STDs among women with and without recent male sexual partners was compared and analyzed in relation to self-reported sexual behavior. Results: Among lesbians who denied having prior male sexual partners, the following gynecological infections were reported: trichomoniasis, anogenital warts, and abnormal Pap smears. The most commonly reported sexual practices were digital–vaginal penetration, oral–oral, oral–genital, and genital–genital contact. Conclusions: Probable woman-to-woman transmission of STDs and vaginitis was frequently reported. Although the true incidence of specific infections among lesbians is unknown, routine screening should be offered to sexually active lesbians.
- Lemp GF, et al. HIV seroprevalence and risk behaviors among lesbians and bisexual women in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. Am J Public Health 1995;85(11):1549–52.
- Berger BJ, et al. Bacterial vaginosis in lesbians: sexually transmitted disease. Clin Infect Dis 1995;21:1402–5.
- Robertson P, Schachter J. Failure to identify veneral disease in a lesbian population. Sex Transm Dis 1981;83:75–6.
- Edwards A, Thin RN. Sexually transmitted diseases in lesbians. Int J STD AIDS 1990;1:178–81.
- Young RM, et al. Assessing risk in the absence of information: HIV risk among women injection drug users who have sex with women. AIDS Public Policy J 1992;7(3):175–83.
- Biddle BS. Health status indicators for Washington area lesbians and bisexual women: a report on the lesbian health clinic's first year. Whitman-Walker Clinic, Washington, DC, 1993.
- Johnson S, et al. Comparison of gynecologic health care problems between lesbian and bisexual women: a survey of 2,345 women. J Reprod Med 1987;32:805–11.
- Lesbian Information Project, Preliminary report of the lesbian information project questionnaire results. Sydney, Australia, March 1992 [cited as ref. 19 in Young et al. (5)].
- Miettinen A, et al. Serologic evidence for the role of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, and Mycoplasma hominis in the etiology of tubal factor infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Sex Transm Dis 1990:1710–4.
- Ferenczy A, et al. Human papillomavirus DNA in fomites on objects used for the management of patients with genital human papillomavirus infections. Obstet Gynecol 1989;74(6):950–4.
- Panici PB, et al. Oral condyloma lesions in patients with extensive genital human papillomavirus infection. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1992;167:451–8.
- Butler S, et al. Condyloma acuminatum in the oral cavity: four cases and review. Rev Infect Dis 1988;10:544–50.
- Campion MJ. Clinical manifestation and natural history of genital human papillomavirus infection. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 1987;14:363–88.
- Syrjanen SM. Human papillomavirus infections in the oral cavity. In: Syrjanen K, Gissman L, Koss LG, editors. Papillomavirus and Human Disease. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1987:104–37.
- O'Hanlan K, Crum C. Human papillomavirus-associated cervical intraepithelial neoplasia following lesbian sex. Obstet Gynecol 1996;88(4):702–3.
- Gynecological Infections and Sexual Practices of Massachusetts Lesbian and Bisexual Women
Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Volume 1, Issue 1 , pp 15-23
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- bisexual women
- gynecological infections
- sexual behaviors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Fenway Community Health Center, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115
- 2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
- 3. Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
- 4. Division of Infectious Diseases, Memorial Hospital, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
- 5. Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island