Bioethics Blogs

Dr. Celia B. Fisher Addresses Health Care of Bisexual Adolescent Girls

For bisexual female adolescents,  proper sexual healthcare is difficult to obtain due to healthcare providers’ judgmental attitudes and assumptions of patient heterosexuality, and lack of opportunities for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing. Additionally, “youth openness” with healthcare providers is restricted due to stigma experienced within families of bisexual teen girls and concerns of confidentiality. These findings were published in LGBT Health, a Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publication

Dr. Celia B. Fisher, Director of Fordham Center for Ethics Education and principle investigator, along with Dr. Brian Mustanski, Director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, describe these health care disparities in the article, Bisexual Invisibility and the Sexual Health Needs of Adolescent GirlsThe study analyzed bisexual female adolescents’ perspectives on their access to health information and services provided by health care professionals.

In addition to attitudes and assumptions of healthcare providers and stigma within families, the findings also included limited school-based sexual health education as an important factor contributing to insufficient health care for bisexual adolescent girls.

“The findings from our study are consistent with the unfortunate fact that sexual health care of adolescent girls has largely been absent or focused primarily on birth control tools that do not prevent risk of HIV and other STI – especially if male partners refuse to use condoms,” notes Fisher,  “and this problem is exacerbated for bisexual girls who may be unprepared for sexual experiences with male partners or who engage in such experiences to avoid social stigma.”

The researchers concluded that practitioners must improve standard sexual health practices involving female youth by integrating nonjudgmental questions regarding bisexuality.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.