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Gay men 'need better health care'

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Health services need to improve the standard of care offered to gay and bisexual men, according to a survey.

Stonewall, a lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, found that despite these men being more likely to self-harm, attempt suicide, have depression, smoke and take drugs, health professionals tend to focus solely on gay men’s sexual health.

Researchers quizzed almost 6,900 men across the UK on behalf of the charity for the latest Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health Survey.

The results also revealed that gay and bisexual men are more likely to suffer domestic abuse from a partner or family member than their heterosexual counterparts.

The large majority of men who have suffered abuse have never reported it to the police (80%), while more than 50% of those that did were disappointed with the way their complaint was handled.

Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: “This deeply troubling report provides hard evidence that Britain’s 1.8 million gay and bisexual men are being let down by health services which often see homosexuality and bisexuality purely as sexual health issues.

“As a result hundreds of thousands of gay and bisexual men are in dire need of better support from health professionals. This landmark report makes a number of recommendations that could help health services improve before more lives are ruined.”

The survey also highlighted that around one in three men have not been tested for HIV.

The report said this raises “grave concerns about the effectiveness with which hundreds of millions of pounds of public money have been spent on HIV awareness and prevention in recent years”.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • “According to a survey...” A survey, OK yes let’s reorganise the NHS.

    So health services tend to focus on matters of gay men’s sexuality rather than the presenting health issues, whether that’s the drug abuse, the self-harm, the suicide attempt or the injury resulting from an assault... um ...sounds like a survey NT needs to take a more critical look. It is a sad fact that health services don’t tend to do social care, nor are they leading change in the prevailing socio-cultural context and the underpinning values that might be part of the underlying cause of many of the problems it apparently ignores when experienced by gay men, but maybe that’s because it isn't the job of the health service?

    I’m sure it’s true that the NHS is concerned with the sexual health of gay men, given that this survey found that just 1 in 3 have never been tested for HIV perhaps gay men they should focus more on their sexual health too.

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