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Soc Sci Med. 2006 Oct;63(8):2022-30. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

Do homosexual persons use health care services more frequently than heterosexual persons: findings from a Dutch population survey.

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  • 1Research Department, Rutgers Nisso Groep, Oudenoord 176-178, 3506 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Use of health care services has been suggested to be lower among homo- or bisexual persons than among heterosexual persons, due to a lack of trust in the health care system. However, population-based studies on differences in health care utilization according to sexual orientation are scarce. The purpose of the current study was to explore differences in health care utilization and confidence in health care between heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual persons. A survey of a random sample of patients of Dutch general practices (n = 9684) gathered data on socio-demographic variables, sexual orientation, health status, confidence in health care and health care utilization. Differences in health care utilization between homo- or bisexual persons and heterosexual persons were analyzed with logistic regression analysis, in which we statistically adjusted for socio-demographics and health status. Reported health was lower among homosexual men and women as compared to heterosexual persons. There were no sexual orientation-related differences in confidence in health care. Controlling for health status, it appeared that gay men more frequently used mental and somatic health care than heterosexual men, and that lesbian or bisexual women more frequently used mental health care than heterosexual women. We found a higher rate of health care use among homosexual and bisexual persons as compared to heterosexual persons, that could only be partly explained by differences in health status. To gain a better understanding of our findings, data on the predisposition to use health services among homosexual and bisexual men and women is needed.

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