Researchers at the University of Washington have begun the first extensive study of lesbian and bisexual women and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Lesbian/Bisexual Women's Health Study at the University of Washington is revealing some of its tentative findings on a new Web site, http://www.lesbianstd.com. Researchers are doing so in hopes of attracting more volunteers in this study of a much-misunderstood subject, the sexual health of bisexual and lesbian women. This is the first study of its kind funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health.
The study needs several hundred more volunteers. Recruiters are seeking women research subjects who are 16 years or older and who have had sex with other women within the last year. Participants in the study receive a comprehensive gynecological exam and full STD screenings at no cost. The study is based at the Broadway Clinic, in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood. For more information, call 206-720-4340.
The Web site contains health information relevant to lesbian and bisexual women, information about specific STDs and vaginal conditions, findings so far from the study, and recommendations for "safe sex."
The findings so far among volunteer subjects are providing insights into women's health, says Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, an assistant professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine.
For example, contrary to some beliefs, women who have sex with other women should get regular Pap smears. Even some health providers seem unaware of this, Marrazzo says. "There's a general assumption that sex between women is not as risky as sex between women and men," Marrazzo says. "Some people do believe that they are not at risk for STDs."
Marrazzo and nurse practitioner Kathleen Stine began the
Lesbian/Bisexual Women's Health Study after no
Contact: Walter Neary
University of Washington