Providing quality family planning services to LGBTQIA individuals: a systematic review
OBJECTIVE: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) individuals have unique sexual and reproductive health needs; however, facilitators and barriers to optimal care are largely understudied. The objective of this study was to synthesize findings from a systematic review of the literature regarding the provision of quality family planning services to LGBTQIA clients to inform clinical and research strategies. STUDY DESIGN: Sixteen electronic bibliographic databases (e.g., PubMed, PSYCinfo) were searched to identify articles published from January 1985 to April 2016 relevant to the analytic framework. RESULTS: The search parameters identified 7193 abstracts; 19 descriptive studies met inclusion criteria. No studies assessed the impact of an intervention serving LGBTQIA clients on client experience, behavior or health outcomes. Two included studies focused on the perspectives of health care providers towards LGBTQIA clients. Of the 17 studies that documented client perspectives, 12 elucidated factors facilitating a client's ability to enter into care, and 13 examined client experience during care. Facilitators to care included access to a welcoming environment, clinicians knowledgeable about LGBTQIA needs and medical confidentiality. CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review found a paucity of evidence on provision of quality family planning services to LGBTQIA clients. However, multiple contextual facilitators and barriers to family planning service provision were identified. Further research is needed to assess interventions designed to assist LGBTQIA clients in clinical settings, and to gain a better understanding of effective education for providers, needs of specific subgroups (e.g., asexual individuals) and the role of the client's partner during receipt of care.