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Abstract

Health workers report challenges to broaching sexual behavior with gay and bisexual men (MSM). We conducted a stigma-mitigation training to increase provider-initiated conversation about anal sexuality among Chinese health workers. The two-day workshop, titled Smarter Sex is the New Safer Sex: Anal Pleasure and Health, coupled information about anal physiology and sexual response with gradual exposure to trainees’ emotional and cognitive responses. We analyzed surveys and one-time interviews. Acceptability (satisfaction with training activities and recommended practices), feasibility (compatibility with participants’ current practices), and appropriateness (perceived fit with participants’ work mission and goals) were high, reaching 84–95% of the scale range, though with variable ratings for trainee comfort during participation. Qualitative data confirm health workers’ motivation to discuss anal sexuality and the value of learning about anal physiology and sexual response, but revealed continued uncertainty about how to broach and navigate discussion with clients. Refinement of the training to align with health worker recommendations and to augment communication options and skills is warranted, as is involvement of MSM clientele themselves.

Abstract

Health workers report challenges to broaching sexual behavior with gay and bisexual men (MSM). We conducted a stigma-mitigation training to increase provider-initiated conversation about anal sexuality among Chinese health workers. The two-day workshop, titled Smarter Sex is the New Safer Sex: Anal Pleasure and Health, coupled information about anal physiology and sexual response with gradual exposure to trainees’ emotional and cognitive responses. We analyzed surveys and one-time interviews. Acceptability (satisfaction with training activities and recommended practices), feasibility (compatibility with participants’ current practices), and appropriateness (perceived fit with participants’ work mission and goals) were high, reaching 84–95% of the scale range, though with variable ratings for trainee comfort during participation. Qualitative data confirm health workers’ motivation to discuss anal sexuality and the value of learning about anal physiology and sexual response, but revealed continued uncertainty about how to broach and navigate discussion with clients. Refinement of the training to align with health worker recommendations and to augment communication options and skills is warranted, as is involvement of MSM clientele themselves.