The Role of Syndemic in Explaining Health Disparities Among Bisexual Men: A Blueprint for a Theoretically Informed Perspective

  • M. Reuel Friedman
  • Brian M. Dodge
Part of the Social Disparities in Health and Health Care book series (SDHHC)


Although studies have documented dramatic health disparities among bisexual men and women, relative to their exclusively homosexual and heterosexual counterparts, research on potential explanatory factors underlying these differences in health outcomes has lagged. In an attempt to frame future research on health among bisexual individuals, this review will interpret previous research on health and risk disparities among bisexual men, using the lens of Syndemic Theory. We review findings from studies on a wide range of health concerns (including adverse childhood events, psychosocial conditions, sexual risk behavior, incidence and prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and health behavior following an HIV diagnosis) in an attempt to provide theoretically-informed perspectives from which to further study health disparities among bisexual men and women in more nuanced ways. Though there is emerging research on syndemic disparities among bisexual women, this review centers on bisexual men due to the deeper vein of HIV-related research in this population.


Bisexual men Men who have sex with men and women HIV/AIDS Intervention design Theory 



The lead author would like to thank his doctoral committee: Nina Markovic, Ron Stall, Tony Silvestre, and Chongyi Wei.  Portions of the material herein were previously presented in different form in the lead author’s doctoral dissertation: Friedman, M.R. (2013). HIV among men who have sex with men and women (MSMW): Prevalence estimates, acquisition and transmission risks, and implications for interventions (Doctoral dissertation, University of Pittsburgh).  The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.School of Public HealthIndiana University-BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA

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