(HealthDay News) — Men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) have unique vulnerability to HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other sexual health problems, according to a review published online June 22 in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

William L. Jeffries IV, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, conducted a systematic literature review to examine the sexual health of MSMW in the United States. He reviewed studies published from January 2008–December 2013.

Jeffries found that compared with men who have sex with women, MSMW were more likely to be infected with HIV. Compared with both men who have sex with men and men who have sex with women, MSMW may also have increased risk of some other STIs. Unprotected sex, early sexual debut, forced sexual encounters, increased number of partners, substance use, exchange sex, risk behavior of partners, and complications related to pregnancy can influence sexual health, and uniquely influence MSMW’s vulnerability to HIV, STIs, and other sexual health problems. Sexual partnerships and the likelihood of disease acquisition could be negatively influenced by anti-bisexual sentiment, socioeconomic marginalization, culturally specific masculine ideologies, and sexual identity.

“Risk-reduction interventions alone are likely insufficient to improve MSMW’s sexual health,” Jeffries writes. “Efforts should also address the social contexts affecting MSMW in order to decrease HIV/STI vulnerability and mitigate other barriers to MSMW’s sexual health.”

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