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Published Online:https://doi.org/10.12968/gasn.2014.12.6.19

Abstract

Chronic illness research involving lesbian and gay people typically focuses on HIV/AIDS, cancer, and mental health. The authors extend the evidence with a two-phase mixed methods exploration of gay and lesbian people's experiences with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), collecting demographic, disease history, and outness data from 50 community-based respondents and conducting 22 semi-structured interviews. Of the12 key themes identified, 8 resonate with concerns reported in the heterosexual IBD population, while 4—sexual activity, receiving health care, IBD and lesbian and gay life, identity and coming out—are unique to this study population. The physical and practical aspects of IBD match those of the heterosexual community and can be managed similarly. Gay and bisexual men require precise information about sexual activity/restrictions, and staff should address the psychological needs of patients by enabling coming out and partner involvement.

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