Gay and Bisexual Men
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 withmen are additionally affected by:
- Higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases(STDs)
- Tobacco and drug use
Other factors that can negatively impact your health and ability to receive appropriate care include homophobiaStigma (negative and usually unfair beliefs), discrimination (unfairly treating a person or group ofpeople differently), lack of access to culturally- and orientation-appropriate medical and support services, heightened concerns about confidentiality, fear of losing your job, fear of talking about your sexual practices or orientation. These reasons and others may prevent you from seeking testing, prevention and treatment services, and support from friends and family.
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. 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.
There are a number of vaccines that can help to protect your health.
What other steps can I take to protect my health?
- Maintain mental health. Pay attention to your mental healthand outlook. Seek counseling if you have persistent negative feelings about yourself or your health.
- Lower your risk for STDs. Talk honestly with your partner about STDs and getting tested—before you have sex. Use a condom correctly and use one every time you have sex. Think twice about mixing alcohol and/or drugs with sex. They can lower your ability to make good decisions and can lead to risky behavior—like having sex without a condom. Limit your number of sexual partners. You can lower your chances of getting STDs if you only have sex with one person who only has sex with you
- PrEP/PEP (Pre and Post-exposure Prophylaxis/Prevention against HIV infection). Talk with your health care provider about whether PrEP or PEP are appropriate for you based on your HIV status and sexual practices.
- Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthy meal and snack option scan help you avoid heart disease and its complications.
- Maintain a healthy weight. To know whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI).
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can help you maintain ahealthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking makes your chances of getting heart disease, cancer, and stroke much higher. So, if you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your chancesof getting or having many medical problems.
- Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can cause many health problems (high blood pressure or cancer, for example) and raise your chances of getting injured or participating in risky behaviors.
- Cholesterol screenings. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that adults who are 20 years of age or older have their cholesterol checked every five years.
- Cancer screenings. Ask your health care provider for information on screening for prostate, testicular, colon, lung, oral, and anal cancers.
- Check your blood pressure. Getting your blood pressure checked is important because high blood pressure often has no symptoms.
- Get checkups. Ask your doctor or nurse how you can lower your chances for health problems.
Contact us at 973-353-5231 to schedule your appoinment.