Only half of men who have sex with men (MSM) will actually tell their GP about their sexual orientation but the health needs of gay, bisexual and other MSM can be very different to those of the general population. There will also be many health needs for MSM that are the same as the general population but these will tend to be less talked about and less treated. This is particularly the case for sexual problems and mental health problems.
Condoms are an important part of reducing risk of sexually transmitted infections for MSM but they are no longer the only way to prevent HIV and they aren’t even the most effective. PrEP is more effective than condoms at preventing HIV and can be readily accessed at Health for Men. The two most common ways to access PrEP are through a research trial (which is free) or through online importation. Both options are available at Health for Men. Most MSM in Australia should discuss their risk of acquiring HIV and whether or not PrEP is right for them
The mental health of gay and bisexual men is among the poorest in Australia and this group is at high risk of completing suicide. There are lots of reasons for this, many of which may not be understood by all doctors. Gay and bisexual men are more likely to be excluded from family and social groups, are more likely to be discriminated against and are more likely to be judged for a lifestyle that does not align with heteronormative ideals. Fear of discrimination means MSM are less likely to tell a GP about important parts of their life and this ignorance may lead to GPs being unaware of important aspects of the mental health of MSM.
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Almost one in 10 gay men (higher in capital cities) are likely to have a diagnosis of HIV that they may or may not know about. For men with HIV, modern treatments can almost always lead to undetectable levels of virus in the blood. This has two important consequences, (1) it is essentially impossible to transmit HIV with an undetectable viral load and (2) men with HIV should expect a normal or very close to normal life expectancy. Prescribing HIV medications is complicated and can be dangerous but this service is available at Health for Men.