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Home Knowledge CenterHealth Information for Gay and Bisexual Men

Health Information for Gay and Bisexual Men

Gay and bisexual men can have unique topics to discuss with their health care providers because they may be at greater risk for certain health conditions. See the below topics that are important to consider for your health care and well-being.

Important Topics to Discuss with Your Health Care Provider

Gay and bisexual men need a health care provider that’s LGBTQ+ affirming and familiar with the medical, emotional, and behavioral issues that are unique to their community.

Here are some topics that you may want to consider when talking to your health care provider:

1. Access to Care

If your health care provider knows your sexual orientation and has the special skills, experience, and training to appropriately treat LGBTQ+ individuals, then they are more likely to provide you with the competent care you need. You can find a provider who is affirming and competent in treating LGBTQ+ individuals at the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) website. Be sure to review your coverage and make sure your provider is in-network.

2. Hepatitis Immunizations and Screenings1

Gay and bisexual men may have a higher risk of contracting hepatitis than their heterosexual counterparts, which can lead to liver failure, liver cancer, and other serious health concerns. Immunizations can help protect you against hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis C can be prevented by practicing safe sex. Talk to your health care provider about how to protect against and treat hepatitis.

3. Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can be more common among gay and bisexual men compared to their heterosexual counterparts, especially those who are younger or not open about their sexual orientation. Gay and bisexual teens and young adults may be at greater risk of mental and behavioral health challenges that can lead to suicide. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, talk to your health care and insurance providers to see what programs, support, and counseling are available to you.

4. Diet and Exercise

Eating nutritiously and regularly exercising are key to a healthy lifestyle. However, body image issues can affect gay and bisexual men and may lead to unhealthy dieting habits and over-exercising. Negative body image can also drive members of the community to use substances like anabolic steroids or supplements, which can be dangerous. Talk to your health care provider about your diet and exercise habits so you can address concerns or unhealthy lifestyle choices.

5. Alcohol and Substance Use

Tobacco use can lead to a range of serious health problems, such as lung disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Gay and bisexual men may have a greater risk of substance use and alcohol abuse compared to their heterosexual counterparts. The long-term effects of some illicit substances are not known and can pose serious consequences to your health and emotional well-being. Talk with your health care and insurance providers if you’re struggling with, or trying to quit using tobacco, alcohol, or other substances.

6. Sexual Health1

Safe sex is key to protecting your health and lowering your risk of STIs. Some STIs can be treated or cured, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and pubic lice. Other STIs, such as HIV, hepatitis, HPV and herpes, do not have cures. However, regular testing helps to catch infections and viruses early, identify the proper medical care to control the infection or virus, get effective treatment, and avoid transmitting it to others.

Certain vaccines are available to prevent STIs, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV. People living with HIV who take HIV medicine, or antiretroviral therapy (ART), can control their symptoms and live long, healthy lives, while preventing the transmission of HIV to their sexual partners. Those who have an increased risk of exposure to HIV may have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to reduce risk of contracting HIV from their sexual partners.

Talk to your health care provider about your sexual history and what to do if you’re exposed to HIV or STIs. If you’re HIV positive, ask for a referral to an HIV specialist. Your doctor and insurance provider can connect you to programs and treatment options that are appropriate for your condition and lifestyle.

7. Cancer screenings1

Men are advised to receive regular screenings for prostate, testicular, and colon cancer as part of their routine care. Some gay and bisexual men, especially those who are HIV positive, may have a higher risk of anal cancer. Ask your health care provider if you’re due for any cancer screenings.


Men's Health Cancer Screening


LGBTQ+ Health Disparities Cancer Facts for Gay and Bisexual Men Sexually Transmitted Infections

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1This information may only be relevant to certain individuals depending on anatomy, physiology, and personal experience.

The content provided on this web site is not medical advice and is not a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.

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