'It's not just HIV'

24/11/15 . News

There's far more to gay men's health than HIV.

That's the message of a new manual developed by the Men's Health Forum with GMFA, the gay men's health charity. The two charities have combined their knowledge to produce a new publication to enable gay men and boys to learn about and improve about their health and wellbeing.

Man To Man is the latest in the Forum's series of man manuals which offer men easy to read, easy to act upon health information.

Matthew Hodson, GMFA CEO, said: 'A man's health, whatever his sexuality, is generally not as good as a woman’s. Gay and bisexual men often have to cope with additional pressures, leading to poorer emotional health and higher rates of smoking, drinking and recreational drug-use. All of these can have a major impact on long-term health.

'At GMFA we recognise that for gay men to enjoy true equality, we must also have equality in health.  Too often discussion of gay and bisexual men’s health begins and ends with their sexual health, specifically the high rates of HIV, but the health of gay men is not limited to sexual health. The Man to Man manual provides easy to use information specific to gay men on how to take the steps that will lead to a longer and healthier life.'

The poor mental health of gay men is particularly concerning. Research by Stonewall has revealed some shocking statistics: one in fourteen gay and bisexual men deliberately harmed themselves in the last year compared to just 1 in 33 men in general who have ever harmed themselves. And gay men have more body image problems compared to other men with half of gay and bisexual men worrying about the way they look and wish they could think about it less. One in five gay and bisexual men have had problems with their weight or eating at some time. 

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.