Purpose: We used in-depth interviews with a cohort of young adult gay men (YAGM) to provide a more detailed understanding of their current healthcare engagement, including experiences with the healthcare system, provider knowledge of healthcare needs, and desired provider characteristics. Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with a sample of 40 YAGM in New York City. The interview guide examined healthcare engagement across key developmental stages: Childhood (birth-12), adolescence (13-18), young adulthood (19-22), and the present (23-26). All transcripts were coded using a consensual qualitative research approach to identify crosscutting topics. The interviews were conducted between September and October 2015. Results: The following topics were identified: Experiences with the healthcare system, provider knowledge of healthcare needs, and desired provider characteristics. Common barriers to healthcare access were financial concerns, lack of insurance, and dissatisfaction with the care provided. Reasons for dissatisfaction with care were based on perceptions of providers' anti-gay attitudes, judgment of same-sex sexual behavior, and lack of provider knowledge about YAGM's health needs. This often led men in this study to seek sexual healthcare from providers other than their primary care provider. When asked about desired provider characteristics, participants noted that basic demographics were of less importance than skills-based characteristics such as rapport, comfort discussing sexual health issues, and knowledge of YAGM's health. Conclusion: YAGM have unique challenges to engaging in healthcare, including provider stigma and lack of provider knowledge of YAGM's health needs, which are not faced by other young adult populations. The results from this study highlight the need for more extensive and standardized training in medical school and as part of continuing medical education for healthcare providers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- gay men
- healthcare engagement
- provider characteristics