There are certain health conditions that impact all men, but there are also some specific health concerns for gay men. Many factors contribute to your health beyond sexual orientation, but understanding common issues for gay men’s health can help inform you on how to be as healthy as possible.
Men who have sex with men are at greater risk of contracting HIV and other STIs, such as hepatitis, herpes, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Protect yourself by:
- Using a condom, particularly during anal sex
- Not sharing sex toys, and thoroughly cleaning them before and after use
- Being mutually monogamous with a partner who has tested negative for all STIs
- Regularly getting tested with your partner
- Talk to your doctor about taking Truvada for PrEP, a medication used to reduce your chances of contracting HIV
Mental health concerns
Gay men are more likely to face mental health concerns, such as depression and anxiety. LGBT youth are also at a greater risk of depression and suicide. This is particularly difficult for men who do not have support from their loved ones due to their sexual orientation. Facing alienation and discrimination can cause distress and aggravate mental health issues.
It is crucial to address mental health concerns promptly. When left untreated, depression can lead to many other problems in your life. If you are concerned that you are depressed, talk to your doctor at Men’s Vitality Center in Tucson, and we will help you find a mental health provider who can help you.
Body image issues
Gay men have higher rates of body image issues and eating disorders than straight men. While we cannot be certain of the reason, this may be due to cultural pressures to meet the ideal body image. If you are having issues with your body image, talk to your doctor and we can discuss potential treatments.
There is a misconception that women are the only ones who are abused, but anyone can be the victim of domestic violence. Gay men in abusive relationships may have a partner who:
- Threatens to “out” them
- Says that domestic violence is normal in a gay relationship
- Says that police won’t help a gay man
- Says that leaving the relationship would be the same as saying same sex relationships are wrong
If you are facing emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse from a partner, talk to someone about it, whether it is a friend, family member, your doctor, or a domestic violence shelter. Consider leaving your abuser, as domestic violence has negative effects on all aspects of your life, particularly your health and mental well-being.
Fear of health care professionals
Gay men may be particularly hesitant to prioritize getting regular men’s physicals due to fear of facing stigma for being homosexual. At Men’s Vitality Center in Tucson, we understand this fear, and will do our best to make you as comfortable as possible. Regular check ups are a preventative measure that can help you catch health concerns before it is too late. When you are ready for a men’s health physical, contact Men’s Vitality Center in Tucson today.