Gay Men's Health
Whether you’re gay or straight, there are always steps you can take to safeguard your health. In order to remain healthy it is obviously worth eating well, exercising regularly, limiting your drink and drug intake, practising safe sex and visiting your doctor for a check-up now and again. Overall, the health issues that gay men face are not all that dissimilar to those experienced by straight men. Whatever your sexuality, as a man you need to be aware of the potential for health problems such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer. However, it is also worth being aware that there are certain health problems which are statistically more likely to affect gay men, such as depression and drug abuse.
Some men struggle to deal with their sexuality and, as a consequence, they engage in reckless behaviour which could be bad for their health. Coming out can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you don’t know where to find support, and this can lead to feelings of depression. When you feel low, you can quite easily go down the path of drinking too much and taking drugs to help you cope with the situation. The chances are you will be reluctant to see your doctor, but the doctor is there to help; not to judge. Sometimes it is difficult to be open about your sexuality when you fear being discriminated against, but it isn’t something you should keep hidden from your doctor.
As a gay man, you are at greater risk of picking up sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including certain types of hepatitis and HIV, compared to a straight man. Thus, it is essential to practise safe sex in order to reduce the likelihood that you pick up an STI or pass one on. Despite the progress that has been made in the treatment of HIV, there is still no cure, which is why there is no room for complacency. There may be gay men who are prepared to risk their health and the health of others by engaging in unprotected sex, but you need to ask yourself whether unprotected sex is seriously worth the risk.
Clearly, then, it is worth using a condom when having sex, especially if you engage in casual sex, because you don’t know where the other man has been or what he could be carrying. It is also a good idea to make the most of the sexual health services that are available, so that you can be tested for HIV and other STIs in order to be reassured that you’re not carrying anything. It also means that if you do test positive for an STI, you will be able to seek treatment sooner rather than later.
Men are generally less inclined to see their doctor than women, which means that when they do seek help for a medical condition, they are usually in a much worse state than they would have been if they’d gone earlier. If you’re worried about any changes to your health, it is always worth going to your doctor to ask for advice, rather than putting it off. You certainly don’t want your gender or your sexuality to prevent you from trying to maintain your health. If you do put off going to the doctor, those seemingly insignificant aches and pains you had could turn out to be symptomatic of something far more serious and, thus, require more intensive or invasive treatment.
To get the most out of life, it’s definitely worth trying to stay healthy, something that applies to both straight and gay men. There may be certain medical
conditions more likely to affect gay men, but that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to them, as long as you’re prepared to be sensible when it comes to looking
out for your health.