Healthcare and Men who Have Sex With Men: Challenges and Opportunities

2008 plan to improve outcomes for clinics, clinicians, and healthcare consumers in working with MSM patients.


Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Minnesota and the United States continue to suffer the effects of a variety of health disparities. Reasons for this are complex, but the results are real: increased rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, increased rates of rectal cancer as well as smoking and substance abuse, to name a few.

A prime example of MSM health disparities is the spread of syphilis.  For 2007 in Minnesota, of 114 early syphilis cases, 103 were among MSM, underscoring the need for expert, culturally competent healthcare.

According to the National Coalition for LGBT Health, “… a number of pressing social and medical issues continue to compromise the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States.” Through research, focus groups, and key informants, a number of areas in need of addressing were identified:

  • Training and the availability of accurate information for clinicians.
  • Addressing discrimination and stigmatizing of MSM patients in healthcare settings.
  • Patient education and awareness.

This initiative seeks to impact these issues through recruitment of:

  • Medical school students
  • Healthcare providers
  • MSM healthcare consumers

Plan components:

Medical school students

  • Needs assessment

Healthcare providers

  • Provider materials
Medical school students

Needs assessment. The needs assessment was completed April, 2008 by a team of nine second-year medical students from the University of Minnesota with the assistance of the Syphilis Elimination Project. It is the result of an extensive literature review, interviews with key informants, and focus groups of MSM health care consumers. The report describes health care gaps for MSM, examines the causes of and previous attempts to close these gaps, makes recommendations to improve health outcomes, and offers a plan for continued evaluation. You can review and download a copy of this report here (PDF: 892KB/42 pages).

Healthcare providers

Provider materials. The STD, HIV and TB Section of the Minnesota Department of Health has made available fact sheets, training materials, and lobby posters regarding MSM health. They may be ordered, or they are offered here for download.

Materials offered:
Fact sheet and training materials

Lobby posters designed to provide a more welcoming environment (in PDF format below):

8 1/2” X 11”

11” x 17”


For more information on syphilis, call 651-201-5414

Content Notice: This site contains HIV or STD prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Since HIV and other STDs are spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics. If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please exit this web site.

Updated Monday, 19-May-2014 09:35:07 CDT