Exploring Malaysian Physicians' Intention to Discriminate Against Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men Patients

Zhao Ni, Roman Shrestha, Valerie A. Earnshaw, Ying Chew Tee, Frederick L. Altice, Iskandar Azwa, Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Xin Zhou, Jeffrey A. Wickersham

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) experience high levels of stigma and discrimination. Minimizing the stigma and discrimination is critical to fostering an inclusive environment for care and optimizing health outcomes. This study aimed at exploring the factors related to physicians' intention to discriminate against MSM in Malaysia. Methods: Physicians (N = 542) from two university-Affiliated hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, completed an online cross-sectional survey between January and March 2016. Measures included sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, intention to discriminate against MSM, and several stigma-related constructs. Bivariate and multivariable linear regressions were used to evaluate independent correlates of discrimination intent against MSM. Results: Physicians' intention to discriminate against MSM was low (mean [M] = 1.9, standard deviation [SD] = 0.7), but most physicians (70.6%) had a mean score greater than 1.0, indicating that most physicians expressed some degree of intention to discriminate against MSM. A minority of physicians (10.7%), however, had a score of 3.0 or higher, revealing some physicians holding a moderate to high level of discrimination intent toward MSM. The multivariable model demonstrated that physicians who expressed greater prejudice (B = 0.30, p < 0.01), had more MSM-related shame (B = 0.19, p < 0.01), and fear about MSM (B = 0.31, p < 0.01) were more likely to have the intention to discriminate against MSM. Conclusion: Stigma-related constructs including prejudice, MSM-related shame, and fear were independently correlated with increases in a physician's intention to discriminate against MSM. Therefore, implementing interventions to reduce physicians' stigma toward MSM may promote equitable and stigma-free access to health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
JournalLGBT Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • discrimination
  • health care
  • Malaysia
  • MSM
  • physician
  • stigma

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