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06-02-2018 | Uitgave 4/2018

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 4/2018

Co-occurring psychosocial problems predict HIV status and increased health care costs and utilization among sexual minority men

Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 4/2018
Conall O’Cleirigh, David W. Pantalone, Abigail W. Batchelder, Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, Samantha M. Marquez, Chris Grasso, Steven A. Safren, Kenneth H. Mayer


Sexual orientation related health disparities are well documented. Sexual minority men appear to be at risk for mental health problems due to the stress they experience in establishing and maintaining a minority sexual identity. These mental health issues may combine synergistically and lead to higher medical costs to society. We examine whether sexual minority specific syndemic indicators were associated with higher health care costs, health care utilization, or the risk of being HIV-infected. Health care consumers at a community health center (N = 1211) completed a brief screening questionnaire collected over 12 months. Self-reported data were linked with participants’ clinical billing records. Adjusted logistic regression models identified that four syndemic indicators (suicidality, substance use, childhood sexual abuse, and intimate partner violence) were each significantly related to each other. Multiple syndemics significantly predicted higher medical care utilization and cost, and were associated with 2.5 times the risk of being HIV-infected (OR 2.49, 95% CI 1.45–4.25). Syndemic indicators did not significantly predict the number of mental health visits or costs per patient. These results confirm and extend earlier findings by relating syndemics to health services use and costs for sexual minority men.

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