A multi-method study of health behaviours and perceived concerns of sexual minority females in Mumbai, IndiaJessamyn Bowling A F , Brian Dodge B , Swagata Banik C , Elizabeth Bartelt B , Shruta Rawat D , Lucia Guerra-Reyes B , Devon Hensel E , Debby Herbenick B and Vivek Anand D
A University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University Circle Dr. Department of Public Health Sciences, Charlotte, NC, 28223, USA.
B Indiana University, Center for Sexual Health Promotion, 1025 E. 7th St, Bloomington, IN, 47401, USA.
C Baldwin Wallace University, Public Health Program, 725 Eastland Rd. Berea, OH, 44017, USA.
D The Humsafar Trust, 3rd floor, Manthan Plaza, Nehru Rd, Vakola, Santacruz East, Mumbai, India.
E Indiana University, Department of Pediatrics, 705 Riley Hospital Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46202 and Department of Sociology, Indiana University-Purdue University, 425 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN, 46202, USA.
F Corresponding author. Email: email@example.com
Sexual Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/SH17042
Submitted: 1 March 2017 Accepted: 28 June 2017 Published online: 1 September 2017
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.
Additional keywords: LGBT, mental health, substance use, women’s health.
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