Thursday, November 17, 2011

Health Screening for Gay Men

via thehealthybear, by George Forgan-Smith

Hey there Guys,

I was recently sent an interesting question from a reader about gay men’s health checks…

As an older (well, not that old) gay man who has had a fairly long and complicated journey towards self-acceptance and becoming sexually active, beyond the basic considerations around safe sex (i.e. condoms), what should I be considering (like immunisation, screening, etc.) around managing my sexual health, and managing other health issues where gay men are at increased risk?
Really quite an interesting question. I sometimes think we forget that gay men can suffer with all sorts of health issues, not just those based around HIV.

Today I thought it would be good to give an overview of some of the health issues gay men may be at higher risk for as well as some ways to reduce or even avoid those risks.

By the very nature of our sexual expression, gay men are at a higher risk for exposure to diseases such as Hepatitis A and B and in some cases Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis A is spread from oral contact with faeces with practices like rimming potential ways of spread. Hepatitis B and C can be spread by sexual contact, blood contact and also sharing of toothbrushes and razors with people who are infected. 

While there is not vaccination available for Hepatitis C there are very good vaccinations for both Hepatitis A and B. I highly recommend all gay men consider these vaccinations.

Other vaccinations worth considering are the HPV vaccine to help prevent genital warts as well as oral and anal cancer.

The best time to consider this vaccine is before you have become sexually active however the there are recommendations that all gay men up to the age of 26 should consider the vaccination.

While it may be useful past this age there are concerns that it may not be as effective.

Gay or straight all men face similar medical issues as they age.

This includes heart disease, prostate problems, risk of cancers and other diseases as we get older. For this reason I recommend getting a good health check up as you enter your 40′s.

Currently the Australian government has a program for men aged between 45 and 49 to check for health risks like diabetes, cancers, obesity, depression, heart disease and other factors.

This is a fantastic initiative and I highly recommend talking to your doctor if you are between the age of 45 and 49. This is a great opportunity for a top to tail health checkup.

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