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Beyond the Bisexual Bridge

Sexual Health Among U.S. Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women
  • William L. Jeffries IV
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: William L. Jeffries IV, PhD, MPH, MA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS E37, Atlanta GA 30333
    Affiliations
    Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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      Context

      Men who have sex with both men and women (MSMW) experience health problems in ways that distinguish them from men who only have sex with men (MSM) and men who only have sex with women (MSW). Historically, an undue focus on MSMW’s potential role in transmitting HIV to women has resulted in limited understanding of these men’s unique sexual health needs. This article discusses the sexual health of MSMW in the U.S.

      Evidence acquisition

      The author searched PubMed, Sociological Abstracts, PsycINFO, and GoogleScholar to acquire peer-reviewed studies pertaining to MSMW that were published during January 2008 and December 2013. Reference lists for these studies provided additional studies not acquired through this search.

      Evidence synthesis

      MSMW are more likely than MSW to be infected with HIV. MSMW may be at increased risk for some other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared with both MSW and MSM. Some factors that affect their sexual health include unprotected sex, early sexual debut, forced sexual encounters, increased numbers of sexual partners, substance use, exchange sex, risk behaviors of their male and female partners, and pregnancy-related considerations. These factors uniquely shape MSMW’s vulnerability to HIV/STIs and other sexual health problems. Anti-bisexual sentiment, socioeconomic marginalization, culturally specific masculine ideologies, and sexual identity can negatively influence their sexual partnerships and likelihood of disease acquisition.

      Conclusions

      Risk-reduction interventions alone are likely insufficient to improve MSMW’s sexual health. Efforts should also address the social contexts affecting MSMW in order to decrease HIV/STI vulnerability and mitigate other barriers to MSMW’s sexual health.
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