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Human papilloma virus

Human papilloma virus, which causes anal and genital warts, plays a role in the increased rates of anal cancers in gay men, and some health professionals now recommend routine screening with anal pap smears to detect early cancers. Men have higher prevalence of oral HPV than women. Oral HPV infection is associated with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer.

Depression, anxiety, and suicide

Studies by Cochran et al. (2003) and Mills et al. (2004), among others, suggest that depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population.

According to GLMA, "the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns. Culturally sensitive mental health services targeted specifically at gay men may be more effective in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of these conditions." Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that major risk factors for depression in gay and bisexual men included a recent experience of anti-gay violence or threats, not identifying as gay, or feeling alienated from the gay community.

Results from a survey by Stonewall Scotland published in early 2012 found that 3% of gay men had attempted suicide within the past year. Despite progress in LGBT rights globally, gay men continue to experience high rates of loneliness and depression after coming out.

Eating disorders and body image

Gay men are more likely than straight men to suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa. The cause of this correlation remains poorly understood, but is hypothesized to be related to the ideals of body image prevalent in the LGBT community. Obesity, on the other hand, affects relatively fewer gay and bisexual men than straight men.


Men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of sexually transmitted infection with hepatitis, and immunization for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B is recommended for all men who have sex with men. Safer sex is currently the only means of prevention for the Hepatitis C.

Sexually transmitted infections

The first name proposed for what is now known as AIDS was gay-related immune deficiency, or GRID. This name was proposed in 1982, after public health scientists noticed clusters of Kaposi's sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia among gay males in California and New York City.

Men who have sex with men are more likely to acquire HIV in the modern West, Japan, India, and Taiwan, as well as other developed countries than among the general population, in the United States, 60 times more likely than the general population. An estimated 62% of adult and adolescent American males living with HIV/AIDS got it through sexual contact with other men. HIV-related stigma is consistently and significantly associated with poorer physical and mental health in PLHIV (people living with HIV).

The US Center for Disease Control recommends annual screening for syphilisgonorrhea, HIV and chlamydia for men who have sex with men.

Black gay men have a greater risk of HIV and other STIs than white gay men. However, their reported rates of unprotected anal intercourse are similar to those of men who have sex with men (MSM) of other ethnicities.

Substance abuse

David McDowell of Columbia University, who has studied substance abuse in gay men, wrote that club drugs are particularly popular at gay bars and circuit parties. Studies have found different results on the frequency of tobacco use among gay and bisexual men compared to that of heterosexual men, with one study finding a 50% higher rate among sexual minority men, and another encountering no differences across sexual orientations.



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