STUDY: Gay Men Rank Their Top Health Concerns

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 4.22.44 PMA lot of gay men might talk like they’re not worried about HIV, but it still ranks as our number one health concern, according to a new study out of Hunter College.

“The fear is that gay men are tired of hearing about how to prevent HIV, and because of new treatment options, HIV isn’t seen as a big deal anymore,” says Dr. Christian Grov, a researcher at Hunter’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST).

With a goal to see if men who sleep with men were experiencing such HIV-prevention fatigue, CHEST interviewed more than 650 gay and bisexual men at clubs, gay bars and bathhouses about their health concerns. Interviewees were asked to rank HIV transmission as compared to  smoking, body-image issues, mental health and drug/alcohol use.

HIV/STDs was ranked as the top concern, with mental health and substance abuse tying for second place. “These findings are promising for HIV prevention providers because they suggest many gay and bisexual men still recognize HIV as a top issue for the gay community,” says Grov.

But he’d like to see all these factors addressed in one fell swoop: “HIV does not exist in a vacuum. However, many treatment and prevention services exist in silos,” says Grov. You go to one place for HIV education and prevention, another place for mental health, and a third for anything related to substance abuse.” He supports the idea of addressing multiple issues when doing outreach—a “one-two-three” punch of HIV prevention and treatment, drug treatment and mental-health care.

The study also revealed that nearly three-quarters of recipients had smart-phones or tablets (compared to the 35% in the general population) suggesting such “smart” devices might be a good means of disseminating health information.







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  • Nathan

    What is the name of the study?

  • Taliaferro

    I have lived with HIV since 1984. I no longer have to worry about it – have it. I also have the many health problems that come with HIV and the very medications that keep me alive. I have endured both leukemia and lymphoma – and survived. I am diabetic – type2, from the protease inhibitors. My cholesterol and triglycerides are sky high. I have dealt with clinical depression. I have cardiac disease and have had cardiac bypass surgery. I am anemic. Of all the gay friends I had from the 80s and 90s, I alone am left. My partner, John, died in 2005. Yes, there are treatments for HIV and they prolong life, but each has a cost of its own. The best way to live a long, happy and healthy life is to practice safe sex. Believe me, when YOU become HIV+, you will understand.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    Well, i guess it’s good that this study validated what we all suspected, but, I think
    the more powerful statement that HIV/STDs mental health and substance abuse are

    When I contracted HIV, the alphabet drugs and mental health issues (like depression,
    poor self esteem, body issues, etc.) weren’t as prevalent.

    Now, you go on any site or meet guys who are poz and SO MANY of them contracted hiv
    after a night of binge drinking, “dancing with tina” OR, they had such poor self esteem
    that they would have sex with anyone who would have sex with them – safe or not.

    It’s much like the gun control debate and mental health issues. There IS a linkage and
    i hope they really do put together a plan and outreach to help those guys dealing
    with addiction and mental health issues.

  • viveutvivas

    @GayTampaCowboy, I agree that mental health is the greater underlying problem for gay people, and it really should be at the top of the list. It affects everything else: I think many guys (including myself at times) have unsafe sex because of mental health issues such as depression and social isolation.

  • frshmn

    Kind like how the results run contrary to the popular perception older people have about younger people and their need to vilify them for any mistakes they make.

  • Raquel Santiago

    @GayTampaCowboy: While addiction is getting more noticable. Mental Health is still seen as taboo even in our community sadly to say. Only education will turn this around.

Comments are closed.