The world’s largest gay and bisexual men’s health survey in Britain has revealed that these men face health challenges that are often ignored by the health system.
The survey found that even though British gay and bisexual men are more likely to attempt suicide or self-harm, have depression, smoke, drink and take illegal drugs, their needs are often overlooked by health services which tend to focus solely on gay men’s sexual health.
Undertaken by LGBT right group Stonewall, the survey also found that gay and bisexual men are more likely than men in general to have experienced domestic abuse from a family member or partner.
Four in five of those who have faced abuse have never reported it to the police, and more than half of those who did report were not happy with how the police dealt with the situation.
“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,” said Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill.
“As a result hundreds of thousands of gay and bisexual men are in dire need of better support from health professionals.”
The report, based on responses from nearly 6,900 gay and bisexual men across Britain, also reveals that one in three men have not been tested for HIV. This, it says, 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”.
Key findings of the report include:
â€¢ In the last year, three per cent of gay men and five per cent of bisexual men have attempted to take their own life. Just 0.4 per cent of men in general attempted to take their own life in the same period.
â€¢ One in sixteen (six per cent) gay and bisexual men aged 16 to 24 have attempted to take their own life in the last year. Less than one per cent of men in general aged 16 to 24 have attempted to take their own life in the same period.
â€¢ Almost half of gay and bisexual men worry about the way they look and wish they could think about it less.
â€¢ One in five gay and bisexual men have had problems with their weight or eating at some time.
â€¢ Half of gay and bisexual men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16 compared to 17 per cent of men in general.
â€¢ More than a third of gay and bisexual men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse in a relationship with a man.
â€¢ One in four gay and bisexual men have never been tested for any sexually transmitted infection.
â€¢ Three in ten gay and bisexual men have never had an HIV test in spite of early diagnosis now being a public health priority.
â€¢ A third of gay and bisexual men who have accessed healthcare services in the last year have had a negative experience related to their sexual orientation.
â€¢ More than a quarter of gay and bisexual men said their healthcare professional acknowledged they were gay or bisexual after they had come out and just one in eight were told that their partner was welcome to be present during a consultation.
â€¢ Only a quarter of gay and bisexual men said that healthcare workers had given them information relevant to their sexual orientation.