Young Gay Men's Health
As with all men, gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men, may experience a whole range of health issues and problems.
There are just as many health problems for gay men as there are for heterosexual men. Gay identified men often experience barriers to accessing general health services and may not get the services they require.
As gay men, we are often treated as homosexuals before we are treated as men. This leads to more focus on our mental and sexual health, rather than our overall health.
Gay youth are even further impacted, because often times it is difficult to find a health care provider who is receptive and sensitive to our specific concerns and needs. Youth may also feel that because they are young and they have no outward signs of illness or poor health that they may be invincible, and not at risk for other general health problems.
"I used to feel weird going to my doctor to talk about anything related to my dick or ass. I would just never do it. I wasn't really sick and I didn't have anything wrong, so why would I go talk to a doctor about it? I didn't want the shame of having to talk about my sex life; I mean what if I got an erection in front of them, or something?
Then I started becoming more comfortable with my body, I was going to university and all my roommates were doing nude modeling, I started doing it. I got comfortable being naked in front of strangers and I learned how someone can catch crabs without having sex. I was itching for weeks before I took notice to it. My roommate asked me if there was a problem, NO, and then he said I probably just had crabs. CRABS?
I had to show my crotch to my roommate; luckily he knew what to look for and he picked out a crab to show me. WRETCH Then he killed it and told me how to get rid of them. When I found out what the itching was, I couldn't get rid of them fast enough, I wanted to sterilize myself and fumigate the entire house.
After that episode I learned that I could, and I should, openly talk to other people about my health issues, my sex life, and that others can provide invaluable information, tips, and resources for keeping healthy. For me, I had to get comfortable with being naked in front of other people, and have another person look at my body in a non-sexual manner before I could even begin, to seek help for my sexual
being. Since then, my roommate is no longer my health care provider and my doctor is happy to discuss anything with me about my sexual life or the bits of my biology that I don't understand. Now I get tested every 6 months for HIV, and STIs, so far so good. Now If I could only stop smoking and get more exercise" - (Gay Youth)
Just like the youth in the above quote, you might want to consider going to your health care provider regularly. Don't deny your health just because of fear or ignorance. Once you become comfortable talking about sexual health with your health care provider then maybe you can do the same with your friends and your partners.