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P109 “love thy neighbour”: an evaluation of religion as a potential barrier to accessing sexual health services for gay and bisexual men in the west of scotland
  1. Elizabeth Rooney,
  2. Diane Willis
  1. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK


Background/introduction Outcome 5 of the Blood Bourne Virus Framework aims for a society where attitudes towards sexual health and HIV are supportive and non-stigmatising. Currently, there is no research as to whether religion is a barrier to attending sexual health services for gay and bisexual men.

Aim(s)/objectives To explore the influence of religion and its relationship to sexuality for gay and bisexual men. To explore if religious beliefs affect attendance at sexual health services and whether current standards of care at sexual health services meet their needs.

Methods Nine participants participated in semi-structured interviews; five sexual health staff; four non-NHS staff including three ordained Ministers from different religions. Questions were about their views around the influence of religious beliefs on the sexual health of gay and bisexual men in the West of Scotland.

Results Four themes were identified: barriers to attending sexual health services, influences of religion/coping behaviour, societal influences and provision of sexual health services. Seven of the nine participants identified that religion is a potential barrier to attending sexual health services. Potential conflict between faith and sexuality affect health seeking behaviour. Implications for practice included staff training, outreach work and referral to Chaplains.

Discussion/conclusion This study finds that religion is a potential barrier to attending sexual health services for gay and bisexual men, particularly if their religion and sexuality are in conflict. It can be linked to risk taking behaviour and stigma is a considerable issue. Recommendations were made for improvements in service provision. Further research is required.

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