Just like all other men, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men need to know how to protect their health throughout their life. For all men, heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death. However, compared to other men, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are additionally affected by:
There are many reasons why gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men may have higher rates of HIV and STDs. Some of them are:
Other factors that can negatively impact your health and ability to receive appropriate care:
These reasons and others may prevent you from seeking testing, prevention and treatment services, and support from friends and family.
In fact, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up more than half of the people living with HIV in the United States and experience two thirds of all new HIV infections each year. Further, young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men 13-24 had over 72% of the estimated new HIV infections in 2010. In 2012, 75% of reported syphilis cases were among gay and bisexual men.
The large percentage of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who have HIV and STDs means that, as a group, they have a higher chance of being exposed to these diseases. Too many men don’t know their HIV or STD status (if they have a disease or not), which means they may not get medical care and are more likely to unknowingly spread these diseases to their sexual partners.
Most gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men get HIV by having anal sex, which is the riskiest type of sex for getting or spreading HIV. During anal sex, it’s possible for either partner—the insertive (top) or the receptive (bottom) to get HIV. However, if you are HIV-negative, bottoming without a condom puts you at much greater risk for getting HIV than topping. If you are HIV-positive, being on the top without a condom is riskier for giving HIV to your partner.
Gay Men’s Health Service Information
The GMHS is currently open for returning GMHS PrEP patients only. A phased reintroduction of the STI services is currently under way. All services will be delivered in accordance with current Public Health COVID guidelines. A list of alternative available PREP clinics around the country can be found at: and a list of STI clinics is available on the website. If you wish to contact the clinic, please email
Gay Mens Health
Gay Men’s Health is Scotland’s charity for gay men. Our work involves and empowers gay and bisexual men to promote the health and well-being of all men who have sex with men. This includes men living with or affected by HIVWe currently have office bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
•Challenge stigma and discrimination around living with HIV
•Promote the sexual health of all gay and bisexual men
•Promote the mental and emotional health of all gay and bisexual men
•Promote the physical health of all gay and bisexual men
•Promote the social health of all gay and bisexual men
Glasgow Office: 12 Commercial Road, Glasgow G5 0141 552 0112
General Enquiries Counselling Enquiries: to contact our counselling service directly
Gay men’s health risks
Gay men…who do you mean when you say that? The gay male population is enormously diverse and had equally diverse health risks. Is you are an older, monogamous fellow, been with your partner 30 years your health risks of heart disease, prostate cancer, etc., are the same as any male your age and lifestyle. But, if you are a 15 year old gay male prostitute living on the street you have a slim chance of making it to your 16th birthday alive not to mention without serious risk of deadly diseases, brutal assault and excellent reference has been prepared by the San Diego LGBT Center, read it! It will open your eyes even if you thought you knew it all before. . Most of the health risks particular to gay men related to sex, body image, abuses of all sorts, depression and domestic violence.
Sexually transmitted diseasesGay men are at greater risk of sexually transmitted diseases than straight men their same age because of sexual practices common in the gay culture. The best prevention is, of course, monogamy but in many sections of the gay culture monogamy is definitely not the norm! In studies of sexual behavior gay men always have been found to have more frequent sex than straight men and…a lot more sex than lesbians! Gay men are at risk for anal cancer, uncommon in straight men, due to the frequency of anal sex good news is all of this is preventable by practicing safe sex. Use a condom! I don’t care that they don’t taste good, get the flavored one, but use a condom! And further good news is you can be tested for just about everything (HIV, HPV, hepatitis) and vaccinated for many of the diseases. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking Truvada to help prevent HIV infections. Check their website for more information of us who lived through the AIDS/HIV pandemic a few short decades ago where something like 650,000 died, never want to live through something like that again. It was awful, gay friend after gay friend dying a horrible death, wasted away to a skeleton. The medical community and the government doing next to nothing to find out what it was or how to treat it. Ridiculous rumors and mythology about the disease and how it was spread abounded. Blatant homophobia! Second only to the Nazi extermination of gays in WWII. The epidemic continues today but not as bad because there is testing, early intervention and appropriate drugs which now allow a near normal lifespan. According to the CDC there are 1.8 million Americans infected with HIV/AIDS, 75% of them are gay males, mostly African-American and Hispanic. If you are a gay man of any age, sexually active in a non-monogamous lifestyle, please get tested regularly, see your doctor regularly, there is no reason in this day and age not to do so. People are still dying of HIV/AIDS, the fat lady has not sung yet, so be careful, use common sense, it takes just one drunken, drugged out lapse in judgement to become infected.
Body ImageIn a peculiar irony men who live outside the norms of heterosexual society have developed very rigid cultural norms of our own. In many parts of the gay men culture there are strict body image rules. Young, thin, sculpted musculature, short hair, and fashionable dress with narrow definitions so that everyone looks very much the same. So, not only is there a risk of anorexia and bulimia about the same experienced by high fashion models to keep up with the norms but the psychological pressures are immense. The rigid physical norms are accompanied by social norms based on highly sexualized repartee, sarcasm and generally bitchy unsupportive banter. There are few support groups for men as compared to support groups for lesbians. Social events are seen as opportunities for picking up a sexual partner or as a free-for-all of criticism as opposed to a relaxing afternoon with friends. It isn’t usually until a gay man is older that he is able to break free of the rigid norms and be himself. I had a friend that cried for week when he turned 40, thinking his life was over. I am happy to report that he recovered and went on to live happily ever after into old age. He even got fat.
AgingGay men face all the same aging health risks as straight men of high blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate, colon and testicular cancers. These risks are primarily related to lifestyles but all have an inherited risk as well, so you never know when diagnosed with cancer especially if it was something you could have prevented or it was just the fickle finger of fate. It could be too that we have polluted ourselves into these diseases and in a few years someone will figure that out and save us men face a more intense isolation as they age. There are some “old folk’s homes” built by the LGBT community but not near enough to ensure that all of us can find a comfortable retirement community or nursing home facility if needed. And they are usually for the rich. If you are poor and old and gay you are more likely to be in a straight facility that probably will not allow conjugal visits from your partner, and you risk social isolation if you decide to come out to your fellow residents.
Domestic violenceWithin the LGBT communities gay men are more likely to be battered by a partner, even a temporary partner than lesbians. It is hard to say if men are just more violent than women, or the pressure are more intense on gay men but there it is. Men do seem to beat up on just about everyone more than women. Notice that is men who go marching off to war, for instance. I have also noticed that men who are not comfortable with their sexuality are more likely to react violently than women who are not comfortable with their sexuality. Like somehow it is more offensive to be a gay man than a lesbian. Maybe we should teach our male children to cry as a way to make them more human when they grow up.
Depression and substance abuseBeing vilified but the mainstream society, not being supported particularly by your own gay brothers especially if you don’t fit the slim, trim, hip norm, not understood by your parents, risk being fired from your job if they find out who you really are…geez! No wonder gay men are depressed! The circumstances of our lives are depressing. And no wonder we turn to alcohol and drugs as a way of self-medicating our impossible lives. Thank goodness things are changing, not fast enough for some who have already left us via suicide. Life is looking up for most LGBT folks in the US. Still pretty dicey in places like Uganda that just passed a law declaring homosexuality a capital offense. But most of us have access to mental health services and now there are many LGBT therapists available. Contact Gaylesta for a referral near you If you are struggling with an addiction Alcohols Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have LGBT support groups. and
Don’t worry be happyThe bottom line is most LGBT folks are happily living their lives without undue stress. We are getting married, having children by a number of very creative means, we now see ourselves in the media all the time and for the moment the stigma of being LGBT has lifted. There are risks of course, but most of them can be avoided with common sense. Alcohol and drugs negate most common sense and put you at risk for something you may not have been at risk for if you hadn’t got drunk. Think about it!
Gay Men’s Obsession with Masculinity Is Hurting Their Mental Health
From the moment they leave the womb, men are indoctrinated with ideas about what their gender means. Real men don’t cry. They don’t ask for help. They don’t back down from a fight. Our culture inculcates masculinity in ways both subtle and overt, through schoolyard taunts and gendered bathrooms, at the gym as in the frat house.
The result of this relentless social conditioning is that every gay man inherits an identity crisis: They must reconcile their sense of masculinity with their failure to conform to its compulsory heterosexuality. While some resolve the conflict by eschewing gender norms altogether, a surprising number embrace the very rubric they fall short of, striving to embody cultural notions of masculinity in the way they speak, act, and dress. This is particularly true when it comes to dating.
“In the gay community, a sexual premium is placed on masculinity, which puts pressure on gay men to be masculine,” says Justin Lehmiller, a psychologist at the Kinsey Institute who studies human sexuality. “Feminine-acting men are seen as less desirable sexual partners.”
This is no news to anyone who has ever perused gay dating apps, where one often comes across men advertising themselves as “straight-acting” or “masc.” It’s as common to list the number of times you go to the gym per week as divulging your age. In one 2012 study about gay men’s attitudes toward masculinity, a majority of those surveyed said it was important not only for themselves to present as masculine, but for their partners to look and act masculine as well. Other studies have found that gay men are more attracted to masculine-looking faces and muscular builds. The more masculine one rates oneself, the greater importance he places on masculinity in his partner.
“If enough people tell you they’re only looking for masc men, you start to think there’s something wrong with you.”
While some may dismiss the reverence of masculinity among gay men as “just a preference,” it has documented negative effects on mental health. Gay men who are more gender-nonconforming struggle more frequently with self-esteem and experience higher levels of depression and anxiety. Those who prize masculinity are more likely to be dissatisfied with their bodies.
“A big part of the reason people in the LGBT community have more mental health issues is not only because they experience high levels of marginalization from society at large, but also because of the intense pressure to be, look, and act in a masculine way,” Lehmiller tells them.. “You have all of this social exclusion happening more broadly, but also within the queer community itself. We’re judging and excluding one another.”
Whether or not gay men intend to shun those who are less masculine than they are, if a critical mass of the community expresses a preference for masculinity, it creates a standard.
“Femme men can feel ostracized because of the pedestal we put masculinity on,” says John Ersing, a 28-year-old gay writer in New York City. “If enough people tell you they’re only looking for masc men, you start to think there’s something wrong with you.”
But gay culture’s obsession with masculinity hurts masculine and feminine men alike.
“Even gay men who subscribe to masculinity — and it may be genuine — feel a degree of uncertainty about whether they are masculine enough, how they are seen by others,” says Francisco Sánchez, a professor of psychology at the University of Missouri who studies gay men and masculinity and conducted the 2012 study. “There’s often a sense of inferiority.”
While such feelings are most common earlier in the coming-out stages, Sánchez notes that masculine norms continue to affect gay men’s sense of self long after they’ve told mom and dad.
“Many gay men want to fit in and be seen as normal, not different,” he says.
„You cannot exist in a world where you’re always armored,“ says Wizdom Powell, associate professor of psychiatry at The University of Connecticut. „It puts boys and men in this box that makes it very hard for them to get the help they need.”
The pressure to conform to male stereotypes doesn’t just harm gay men; it’s bad for all men. In August of last year, the American Psychological Association released a document titled “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Men and Boys.” While the APA acknowledged that gender roles are largely socially constructed — science still knows very little about how biology affects gender — and masculine norms vary across cultures, “there is a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” Thirteen years in the works, the document noted that rigid adherence to this traditional masculine ideology harms men’s mental and physical health, in part by discouraging them from expressing emotion and seeking treatment when they need it.
The guidelines prompted a fierce backlash from the right-wing media, which accused the APA of demonizing men. “Traditional masculinity seems to be, in this report at least, conflated with being a pig, or a creep, or a Harvey Weinstein kind of person,” intoned Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham. National Review’s David French called it a “full-frontal attack” on conservative values.
But Ryon McDermott, a professor of psychology at the University of South Alabama who helped draft the guidelines, says such criticisms missed the point, which was to help psychologists better treat men and boys. What conservative commentators failed to appreciate was that it was rigid and extreme forms of masculinity — rather than masculinity wholesale — that the APA had cautioned against.
“When you adhere to masculine norms in rigid ways, it stops you from adapting and coping with your environment,” McDermott says. “It leads to men not seeking help, self-medicating, committing suicide, abuse in relationships. It’s not the norms that are toxic, but the ways that people adhere to them.”
It may be tempting to dismiss all masculinities as bad. But Wizdom Powell, director of the Health Disparities Institute and associate professor of psychiatry at The University of Connecticut, stresses that even traits associated with traditional masculinity can be beneficial depending on the social context. Stoicism, for instance, can serve service-members well on the battlefield, but creates a barrier in overcoming PTSD.
“The important thing to remember is that masculinity is plural and situational — there’s more than one way men and boys enact masculinities in their daily lives,” says Powell, whose research focuses on the impact of gender norms and racism on black men. “But you cannot exist in a world where you’re always armored. It puts boys and men in this box that makes it very hard for them to get the help they need.”
Gay and straight alike, men who are more flexible in their adherence to masculine norms — those who can step in and out of the box — can better handle their environment.
“Research shows consistently that men who are more flexible in their gender roles tend to be healthier at nearly every level,” McDermott says.
“There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to masc guys, but the problem comes when you’re completely shutting yourself off to any other possibility,” says John Ersing. “You’re cockblocking yourself.”
The good news is that the strict binary between masculinity and femininity appears to be blurring. A majority of Millennials believe gender falls on a spectrum, according to Fusion’s Massive Millennial Pollsurvey from queer-rights organization GLAAD showed 12 percent of this generation identifies as gender non-conforming.
Justin Clay, a 23-year-old YouTuber based in Atlanta, has noticed greater acceptance of and experimentation with gender nonconformity since coming out in 2014. “As I’ve grown up, I’ve seen more people my own age exploring how they express themselves,” he says. “I feel like a lot of it is due to the work and organizing that queer people of color have done.”
Gay men know instinctually that that masculinity is fluid. Even the most straight-acting gay man can’t call everyone “bro” all the time. All gay men engage in code-switching, butching it up in a job interview but letting themselves queen out at the weekly Drag Race gathering. Much of this variation in behavior stems from a desire to avoid negative social repercussions from society at large, but gay men also tend to put on their straight face to be more appealing to other gay men.
And yet some in the gay community — particularly those who express a preference for butch types — are reluctant to acknowledge that attraction to masculinity is as variable as masculinity itself.
“Dating apps make it easy to enforce gender boundaries, but in reality, desire is messy, complicated, and surprising,” says Jake Hall, a Ph.D. student in gender and sexuality at the University of Birmingham who identifies as femme. “Even if you have a preference for masculine men, you’d be surprised who you end up being attracted to. You can recondition your mind.”
As young people push the boundaries of gender, an increasing number of gay men feel comfortable questioning gay culture’s idolization of traditional masculinity — and the notion that desire is bound by it.
“There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to masc guy, but the problem comes when you’re completely shutting yourself off to any other possibility,” Ersing says. “You’re cockblocking yourself.”
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Gay Mental Health: Mental Health Issues Facing Gay Men
Many people aren’t aware of this, but homosexuals face gay mental health challenges. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are clear to note, „. . . the majority of MSM [men who have sex with men] are highly resilient and able to cope successfully with many negative life stressors, such as those associated with homophobia and discrimination 1 however, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t specific gay mental health challenges.
Letting Gay Men Donate Blood Could Help Solve a Major Health Crisis
The U.S. faces a national blood shortage. Overturning a biased and outdated ban is not only the right thing—it has enormous life-saving potential.
AMERICAN HOSPITALS ARE flooded with sick patients, and not everyone there is battling Covid-19. Many people need blood transfusions—in fact, the estimates that someone in the U.S. requires a blood donation every two seconds. The country’s blood supply is also running dangerously low: About 30 percent of centers across the nation have a supply that could run out in one day or less and must be carefully managed. And more than half of all centers have less than a three-day stockpile for times of crisis.
That’s because the pandemic —three times as many were canceled in 2020 compared with the year before, according to the Red Cross. Collections at high schools and colleges dropped by 50 percent over that same period. If we don’t get more blood donors fast, we’re not going to be able to treat people with serious burns, those having heart surgeries and organ transplants, and those battling cancer.
But there is one easily implementable solution to the national blood-supply shortage that’s been available for years and could be a lifeline: allowing gay and bisexual men to donate freely. Right now in the U.S., gay and bisexual men (often referred to as MSM, or “men who have sex with men”) are not allowed to give blood if they’ve had sex with another man in the past three months. The same is true for women who’ve had sex with MSM.
Allowing MSM equal access to donate could increase the total annual blood supply by 2 to 4 percent, adding anywhere from 345,400 to 615,300 pints of blood each year, the Researchers estimated it would help save the lives of more than a million people, and experts agree this wouldn’t be putting anyone at additional risk of HIV—a fear that many scientists say needs to be put to rest. Ayako Miyashita Ochoa, lead author of the 2014 report, remains flummoxed as to why, seven years after pointing out the obvious benefit, the change hasn’t happened. “It is my opinion that we continue to have a real problem with laws and regulations based on fear rather than science,” she says.
The continuation of a MSM-specific barrier to giving is not only limiting the blood supply, it’s unnecessary and “rooted in homophobia,” explains Perry N. Halkitis, Ph.D., M.P.H., dean of the School of Public Health at Rutgers University. So far, the FDA has been reluctant to overhaul its policy, but as the need for fresh blood becomes ever more urgent, health and social-justice advocates are pumping new energy into the fight.
BLOOD-DONATION DISCRIMINATION against MSM started in 1983 at the height of the AIDS epidemic, when the FDA instituted a lifetime ban on any man who’d had sex with another man since 1977. “You could potentially understand why this ban came into place nearly four decades ago,” says Marguerita Lightfoot, Ph.D., director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.
At the time, doctors were only beginning to examine how exactly HIV was transmitted and whom it could affect. “We were still trying to figure out the transmission of the virus, and all we knew was that this population was disproportionately impacted,” Lightfoot says. Now it’s clear that HIV transmission isn’t about whether you have sex with men; it’s about whether you have safe sex, no matter who you are.
For years, LGBTQ activist groups have encouraged the FDA to remove its restriction, noting that the ban isn’t rooted in science and perpetuates stigma. Medical experts like Lightfoot agree. “It doesn’t make sense to have a blanket class of people who can’t donate blood,” she says. “People should be screened for risky sexual behavior, such as not wearing condoms when having sex, as opposed to sexual orientation.”
In 2015, the FDA loosened its restriction, permitting gay and bisexual men to donate blood as long as they hadn’t had sex with another man in the past year. That wasn’t much of a victory, according to LGBTQ activist organization GLAAD, which quickly countered with a biting video starring actor Alan Cumming as the head of a fictitious government agency in charge of encouraging abstinence. (“That’s right—365 days of celibacy!” Cumming exclaimed with mock excitement before sharing a list of hobbies that quickly turned sexually suggestive.)
GLAAD then created a petition encouraging the FDA to screen donors based on their exposure to risk and not on sexual orientation. But it took a national emergency for things to finally shift a bit. In April 2020, as blood donations plummeted due to the pandemic, the FDA updated its restriction to a three-month abstinence period before donating.
Activist organizations including GLAAD say three months is still discrimination, and they’ve kept pushing the FDA to lift the ban entirely. “These time deferrals are based in discrimination and stigma, not science,” says Mathew Lasky, GLAAD’s director of communications. “We’re continuing to put pressure on the FDA and are working with celebrities and elected officials to get the word out.”
In mid-April, the group shared an open letter, signed by 500 medical professionals, that states that the FDA revision is “a step in the right direction, [but] it does not go far enough in reversing the unscientific ban.”
An FDA spokesperson told Men’s Health in an email that the agency is now reexamining this issue, including “taking into account the current body of scientific information, and we are considering the possibility of pursuing alternative strategies that maintain blood safety.”
PART OF WHAT MAKES the current ban so archaic is that when it was instated, the U.S. didn’t have the sensitive detection methods for HIV in donated blood. Now we do. Every blood donation is tested for HIV in two different ways (through antibody analysis and NAT, a molecular technique for blood screening). As a result, the rate of accidentally acquiring HIV through a blood transfusion is extremely low—roughly one in 1.5 million.
There are current tests, specifically RNA tests, that can detect HIV within 11 days of exposure. So if the FDA wanted to keep a time-deferral ban, it could utilize these tests and shorten the eligibility restriction to men who haven’t had sex with another man in the past 11 days. There is no reason to keep it at three months, Halkitis says.
Regardless, people who don’t engage in behaviors associated with high risk of HIV exposure shouldn’t need to wait at all to give. For example, if you’re a gay man who wears condoms during sex, you limit your risk of contracting HIV. Same goes for gay men who are married or in a long-term monogamous relationship. Additionally, taking PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) daily can decrease the likelihood of acquiring HIV through sexual contact by 99 percent.
In late December, the FDA announced it is funding a pilot study that may prove there’s a more logical way to move forward. Conducted in tandem with the nation’s largest blood centers—the American Red Cross, Vitalant, and OneBlood—the research effort will survey 2,000 gay and bisexual men across the country between the ages of 18 and 30 who have had sex with at least one man in the past three months. Men will answer questions about their sexual risk. Then their blood will be drawn and tested for HIV as well as anti-retroviral drugs found in PrEP.
Results from this study are expected in late 2021. But if the sexual-risk disclosures can vet candidates as well as or better than the time-based ban, the FDA may use that information to potentially change its donation procedures for MSM. “The FDA remains committed to considering alternatives to time-based deferral by generating the scientific evidence that is intended to support an individual-risk-assessment-based blood-donor questionnaire,” the agency confirmed via email.
The FDA has not said when that policy change might take effect. The earliest it might happen would be in 2022, says Lightfoot. It might also take longer if the agency decides that additional confirmational studies are needed. But there’s already plenty of precedent that this concept can work: If the ban were to be lifted, the United States would join the ranks of countries including Italy, Brazil, the UK, Mexico, and Israel, all of whom have adopted a risk-based questionnaire to screen blood donors instead of ruling out all men who’ve had sex with other men in a set period.
“The countries that have moved away from blanket, discriminatory time-deferral bans have not seen an increase in [HIV-positive] blood,” Lasky says. “We already know that the three-month discriminatory ban does not align with science, so why are we doing this study again?”
The policy change could have a significant positive effect on the mental health of gay and bisexual men, too. While CDC data shows that straight men and women make up roughly 24 percent of new HIV cases, Halkitis says the MSM-specific ban creates “others” out of those excluded. “It makes them feel less than,” he says. This sort of categorical dehumanization can lead to a slew of negative mental-health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. It also puts gay and bisexual men at higher risk for acquiring HIV over time.
“Social and structural factors that cause gay men to feel othered cause them to engage in risky sexual behavior,” Halkitis says. So a ban like this isn’t just harmful to the American public; “it’s incredibly harmful to the gay community, both emotionally and physically.”
Removing the ban would alleviate that stigma and create a new resource that could help save the lives of millions of Americans. To make that happen faster, Halkitis recommends making your voice heard, no matter your sexual orientation. “Like with all social-justice matters, it is imperative that that allies of the LGBTQ+ populations work to voice their concerns about the ongoing blood ban,” he says.
The first step is to sign GLAAD’s petition at . You then can—and should—educate those around you, “since many people, including gay and bi men, don’t know that this ban exists,” adds Lasky. Lastly, “engage with Congress. Let them know you don’t support discriminatory practices that ban gay and bisexual men from doing their civic duty.”
Giving everyone an equal chance to help one another shouldn’t be a difficult decision—especially when unity and healing remains a vital need.
Gay Men’s Health Collective
All gay or bisexual men or non-binary folks are encouraged to apply to our medic program when it opens, no previous healthcare experiences required. Becoming a GMHC volunteer medic is a fantastic way to get more involved in the clinic and give back to the community. It is also a great learning opportunity to deepen your knowledge on STIs and sexual health.
Mental Health Issues Suffered By Gay Men
The mental health issues gay men have to deal with aren’t limited to stigma and discrimination. According to a recent study, gay men are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight men. Moreover, more than half of the men who identify themselves as gay suffer from anxiety or depression. In short, the mental health issues suffered by gay men are a serious problem so finding ways to counter them is crucial.
As mentioned above, the mental health issues suffered by gay men are a serious problem and the best way to counter them is spreading awareness about gay mental health. Spreading awareness about the mental health issues suffered by gay men will help to improve their health and allow them to live a stress free life. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the common mental health issues suffered by gay men.
Gay Men’s Health
As part of Family Health Centers of San Diego, we are one of the largest providers of comprehensive HIV prevention, outreach, testing and support services in the county. We also offer LGBTQ health services such as programs specifically designed for gay men of color, PrEP navigation, transgender-informed health care, as well as free and confidential HIV testing.
We have been dedicated to providing caring, affordable, high-quality health care and supportive services for 50 years. Today, we will continue to deliver these important services to you and our communities. Regardless of the changes in the political climate, our LGBTQ patients will receive the same lifesaving, affirming care they have come to expect from us, and we will continue to support and advocate for the LGBTQ community.
We offer FREE and confidential HIV testing and STD tests which generally costs around $15-$20. These fees include all tests, exams, treatment and follow-ups. If you’re unable to pay, we may be able to waive the fees. Don’t let the fees stop you from coming in to get tested!
Which tests are recommended to help ensure the sexual health of gay and bisexual men?
Your sexual health is important. There are a number of tests you can get to help you know your status and, if you have HIV or an STD, get treatment.
All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested regularly for STDs. The only way to know your STD status is to get tested (you can search for a testing site). Having an STD (like gonorrhea) makes it easier to get HIV or give it to others, so it’s important that you get tested to protect your health and the health of your partner. CDC recommends sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men test for:
Sometimes your doctor or health care provider may suggest a herpes blood test. If you have more than one partner or have had casual sex with people you don’t know, you should be screened more often for STDs and may benefit from getting tested for HIV more often (for example, every 3 to 6 months). Your doctor can offer you the best care if you discuss your sexual history openly. Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, and HPV.
You should have a doctor or provider you are comfortable with. CDC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Services page has resources that can help you find health care providers that are skilled in providing health services to gay and bisexual men. If you have HIV, the Treatment Works-Get In Care page also has useful information.
Health issues for gay men and men who have sex with men
Understand important health issues for gay men and men who have sex with men — from sexually transmitted infections to depression — and get tips for taking charge of your health.
All men face certain health risks. However, gay men and men who have sex with men have some specific health concerns.
Although your individual risks are shaped by many factors beyond your sexual orientation and practices — including family history and age — it’s important to understand common health issues for gay men and steps you can take to stay healthy.
Using a condom helps protect against HIV and lowers the risk of getting many other STIs.
A survey of gay and bisexual men by Stonewall revealed that 1 in 3 men had never had an HIV test, and 1 in 4 had never been tested for any STI.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) should have a check-up at least every 6 months at a sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. This is important, as some STIs do not cause any symptoms.
Gay Mental Health – Increased Risks
Homosexuality is not a medical or mental health disorder but the pressures placed on gay men such as discrimination and homophobia can have a negative impact on their health. According to the CDC, research has found that gay men are at increased risk of:
Gay mental health issues also include substance use disorders like substance abuse and substance dependence. It is noted by the American Psychological Association that gay men also report a higher use of mental health services.2 Gay Therapy, Gay Therapists, Gay Treatment)
Gays and Addiction
Gay men are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs and are more likely to use them in excess. It is thought that there are more gay addicts because of the stress society places gays under particularly due to homophobia. Reasons identified include:4
Gay alcoholics may also find that seeking out gay Alcoholics Anonymous groups helpful. Gay Alcoholics Anonymous and other gay addiction support groups can be found here.
Additional information on gay mental health issues can be found through mental health organizations including:
APA ReferenceTracy, N. (2013, April 12). Gay Mental Health: Mental Health Issues Facing Gay Men, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, April 18 from
What you will get:
✔FOUR 60-minute Support Group Video Sessions with your provider per month✔TWO 30-minute 1-on-1 Health and Wellness Coaching Sessions with your provider per month ✔Personalized Health and Wellness Program consisting of Sleep, Activity, Food, Relationships, Mindfulness and Tobacco and Alcohol Cessation and coaching with your specialist
Relationships Your provider will equip you with knowledge in identifying when and how your mental health is interfering with your relationships, and coach you in building healthy and strong relationships with others.
Food Individually prepared healthy food program and coaching that help improve brain-gut connection.
Sleep Personalized sleep program and coaching prepared by sleep specialists that work to improve your sleep hygiene and energy levels.
Activity Personalized physical activity program and coaching that is manageable and work to help improve mental alertness, energy and positive mood.
Mindfulness Learn effective emotion-regulation strategies from your provider through mindfulness techniques.
Tobacco and Alcohol Cessation Decreased dependency to tobacco and alcohol as you progress through the program.
Gay Men’s GroupPrivate, secure, is a place where gay men can share their experiences and struggles relating to their depression, anxiety, stress and relationships. The purpose is to gain better insight into one’s self and relationships. Explore thoughts, feelings and experiences that may be preventing you from functioning at your highest level. Health and Wellness CoachingPersonalized Lifestyle Medicine programYour lifestyle can significantly influence your mental health. Your provider prepares a comprehensive and personalized lifestyle medicine program that works right into your lifestyle. Learn More
The GMHC accepts administrative volunteers to help on an as-needed basis! If you identify as a queer, trans, gay, or bisexual man, please email with a list of available Sunday afternoons to sign up for a shift. Applications are considered on a rolling basis.
We train people to help in administrative support, lab work, and being a medic (seeing clients for STD appointments). We can train you to do lab or administrative work at any time.
We also are always eager to talk to gay and bi male physicians who might want to help out at our Sunday clinics.
About the GMHC
The Gay Men’s Health Collective, founded in 1976 as a response to blatant homophobia in the health care establishment, is a group of volunteer lay and professional health care workers committed to providing free, quality, non-judgmental, STI-related health care to men. Today, our services have broadened, and we proudly offer services to anyone who identifies as male and/or trans, no matter their orientation.
A routine health appointment with the GMHC includes the following:
Physical exam for bumps or lesions you may not have noticed
Tests for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in the throat and rectum
Diagnosis and treatment for genital or anal warts if they are present
We provide treatment for men with known contact with gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis or Trichomonas vaginalis. Please note, we must repeat tests for STDs that have been diagnosed elsewhere.
Free HIV and STI home-testing kit
It is recommended that all gay and bisexual men who have sex with men test for HIV and STIs at least once a year. If you have unprotected sex with new partners then you should test more frequently than this.
Published:19 th May, 2020
Years of exposure to myths, stereotypes and homophobic rhetoric has forced gay men to internalize this negativity and believe, consciously or subconsciously, that these myths, stereotypes and homophobic rhetoric are true. This mental health problem suffered by gay men is known as internalized homophobia. Internalized homophobia is known to worsen general stress which in turn leads to poorer physical health.
Body image and Femininity issues
If you browse gay dating/hookup sites, you will find many profiles with the statements ‘No Fats, No Fems.’ This statement basically means that the individual isn’t interested in dating men with feminine qualities. This is an indication of larger issues in the gay male community such as overvaluing stereotypical heterosexual qualities and unreasonable body image expectations.
According to a recent study, the pressure of being masculine forces gay men to be less emotional and affectionate. Moreover, body image issues increase their risk of developing an eating disorder. As it contradicts the acceptance, quality, and openness the gay community should provide, the pressure to be masculine causes many gay men to feel frustrated and stressed.
Overworking to prove themselves to the world
Also according to the aforementioned study, on average, gay men have a higher income and are more successful than straight men. This may sound as great news, but it isn’t. Some gay men see their sexuality as a deficiency. So, to compensate for their ‘deficiency’, gay men try to be high-achieving or perfect in other aspects of life. The pressure to be perfect in different aspects of life causes great stress and anxiety in gay men. This is a mental health issue that troubles many gay men today in Australia and abroad.
The fear of bullying, being judged or rejection causes many gay men to isolate themselves or suffer from social anxiety. Also, legislations that limit their right reinforces to gay men that they’re not equal to heterosexuals. All of these things lead to the aforementioned mental health issues suffered by gay men.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is also available for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men up to 26 years of age to prevent genital warts and other HPV-associated diseases and conditions such as oropharyngealanal cancerexternal icon. The HPV vaccine is given as a three-dose series over six months. It is best to be vaccinated before your first sexual contact, but later vaccination can still protect you if you have not been exposed to HPV.
Gay men and men who have sex with men might be at higher risk of depression and anxiety.
If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, confide in a trusted friend or loved one. Sharing your feelings might be the first step toward getting treatment.
Address body image concerns
Gay men are more likely to experience body image problems and eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, than are their straight counterparts.
One potential explanation is that, as a result of growing up with images of slender and effeminate gay men or men with muscular bodies, some gay and bisexual men worry excessively about their weight.
If you’re struggling with body image concerns or an eating disorder, get help. Talk to your doctor or a mental health provider about treatment options.
Seek help for substance abuse
In the U.S., gay men are more likely to smoke than are heterosexual men and gay men are more likely to deal with alcoholism than is the general population.
If you have a substance abuse concern, remember that help is available. Local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health, mental health, or community centers often provide substance abuse treatment. Organizations such as the GLMA also might provide referrals.
Recognize domestic violence
Domestic violence can affect anyone in an intimate relationship. Gay men might be more likely to stay silent about this kind of violence due to fear of discrimination and a lack of facilities designed to accommodate them.
Staying in an abusive relationship might leave you depressed, anxious or hopeless. If you don’t want to disclose your sexual orientation, you might be less likely to seek help after an assault. Still, the only way to break the cycle of domestic violence is to take action — the sooner the better.
If you’re a target of domestic violence, tell someone about the abuse, whether it’s a friend, loved one, health care provider or other close contact. Consider calling a domestic violence hotline and creating a plan to leave your abuser.
Make routine health care a priority
Don’t let fear of homophobia or the stigma associated with homosexuality prevent you from seeking routine health care. Instead, take charge of your health.
Look for a doctor who puts you at ease. Identify yourself as gay or bisexual, and ask about routine screenings recommended for men in your age group — such as blood pressure and cholesterol measurements and screenings for prostate, testicular and colon cancers.
If you’re not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, schedule regular screenings for sexually transmitted infections. Share any other health concerns you might have with your doctor as well. Early diagnosis and treatment help promote long-term health.
Real stories of people living with smoking-related diseases.
Gay and bisexual men are part of a very diverse community. They have both shared and unique experiences and situations that affect their physical and mental health needs as well as their ability to get high quality health services. This website provides an overview of the different health and other issues faced by gay and bisexual men.
CDC has many varied activities and programs to address the health and well-being of gay and bisexual men.
Gay Men’s Health Service
GMHS is Ireland’s only dedicated statutory sexual health and wellbeing service for gay and bisexual men, men who have sex with men and the trans population.
You will find all of the information that you need about services available at GMHS by clicking on the links below.
Free Condoms, Lube and Information Leaflets
Available to men who have sex with men in venues across Ireland.
For more support and information on your sexual health you can call Gay Switchboard Ireland on 01-8721055, email
Keep up to date with HIV and STI information data and other relevant reports available from
Mental Health Issues Suffered By Gay Men
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