Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health
Syphilis Experiences and Risk Perceptions Among Repeatedly Infected Men Who Have Sex with Men
In urban areas of the United States, syphilis is a major public health issue for men who have sex with men, despite widespread efforts to curtail a growing epidemic; repeated infections are not uncommon in this population. The ways that men who have sex with men experience and conceptualize syphilis, and how their attitudes and beliefs impact their risk for infection, are poorly understood.
In‐depth interviews were conducted in 2010–2011 with 19 Los Angeles County men aged 21–54 who reported having male sex partners and had had two or more early syphilis infections within the previous five years. Interview transcripts were analyzed inductively to uncover themes.
Participants had considerable knowledge about syphilis symptoms, transmission and consequences, and most felt that syphilis was a highly stigmatized disease. They had had 2–5 infections in the past five years, and the majority believed they were at risk for another infection because of their sexual risk behaviors. Many had a sense of fatalism about being infected again, and some expressed that this possibility was an acceptable part of being sexually active. Concern about syphilis often decreased as men experienced more infections. Most participants reported short‐term sexual behavior changes after a syphilis diagnosis to prevent transmission; however, few were willing to make long‐term behavior changes.
Additional qualitative studies of men who have sex with men should be conducted to better understand the continuing syphilis epidemic and to help identify the most promising intervention strategies.
Barriers to and Facilitators of Moving Miscarriage Management Out of the Operating Room
Miscarriage care can safely and effectively be offered in appropriately equipped offices and emergency departments. However, it is often treated in the operating room, which limits access to timely, cost‐effective and high‐quality care.
Between May 2013 and January 2014, in‐depth interviews were conducted with 30 staff holding diverse roles at 15 medical offices and emergency departments with the aim of exploring barriers to and facilitators of offering miscarriage care, and identifying methods for expanding care. On‐site observations were also conducted at four facilities. All data were transcribed, iteratively coded and analyzed using qualitative techniques.
Similar barriers to and facilitators of providing miscarriage care were identified across facility types. Barriers were physician preference for providing care in the operating room, the similarity of miscarriage management and abortion procedures, the limited availability of support staff, difficulties integrating miscarriage management into patient scheduling and flow, and uncertainty about responding to women's emotional needs. Facilitators were a commitment to evidence‐based medicine, insurance coverage of miscarriage, offering other procedures of similar complexity and the minimal resources needed for miscarriage care. Resources needed to expand miscarriage services included a medically trained “champion,” best practices for implementing services, persistence and patience, training, clear protocols, and systems for tracking equipment and supplies.
Miscarriage care was viewed as neither resource‐intensive nor technically complex to provide. Although it may be emotionally and politically challenging to offer, effective strategies are available for expanding the scope of miscarriage care offered in multiple settings.
Guttmacher Policy Report
Guttmacher Institute Monthly State Policy Update
This update provides information on legislation,
as well as relevant executive branch actions and judicial decisions in states across the country