A multi-method study of health behaviours and perceived concerns of sexual minority females in Mumbai, India

Jessamyn Bowling, Brian Dodge, Swagata Banik, Elizabeth Bartelt, Shruta Rawat, Lucia Guerra-Reyes, Devon Hensel, Debby Herbenick, Vivek Anand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: This multi-method study explores the perceived health status and health behaviours of sexual minority (i.e. self-identifying with a sexual identity label other than heterosexual) females (i.e. those assigned female at birth who may or may not identify as women) in Mumbai, India, a population whose health has been generally absent in scientific literature. Methods: Using community-based participatory research approaches, this study is a partnership with The Humsafar Trust (HST). HST is India's oldest and largest LGBT-advocacy organisation. An online survey targeted towards sexual minority females was conducted (n≤49), with questions about sexual identity, perceived health and wellbeing, physical and mental healthcare access and experiences, and health behaviours (including substance use). Additionally, photo-elicitation interviews in which participants' photos prompt interview discussion were conducted with 18 sexual minority females. Results: Sexual minority females face obstacles in health care, mostly related to acceptability and quality of care. Their use of preventative health screenings is low. Perceived mental health and experiences with care were less positive than that for physical health. Participants in photo-elicitation interviews described bodyweight issues and caretaking of family members in relation to physical health. Substance use functioned as both a protective and a risk factor for their health. Conclusion: Our findings point to a need for more resources for sexual minority females. Education on screening guidelines and screening access for sexual minority females would also assist these individuals in increasing their rates of preventative health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalSexual Health
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • LGBT
  • mental health
  • substance use
  • women's health.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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    Bowling, J., Dodge, B., Banik, S., Bartelt, E., Rawat, S., Guerra-Reyes, L., Hensel, D., Herbenick, D., & Anand, V. (2018). A multi-method study of health behaviours and perceived concerns of sexual minority females in Mumbai, India. Sexual Health, 15(1), 29-38. https://doi.org/10.1071/SH17042