Gay and bisexual cisgender men (men who have sex with men) have their own health needs…and unlike what the popular media would suggest, it’s not all about HIV.
All men who have sex with men should…
- Talk with their physician about their physical and mental health
- Talk with their physician about their risk for HIV infection and discuss pre-/post- exposure prophylaxis, in case prophylaxis is ever needed
- Avoid the use of steroids
- Practice safer sex where possible. Barrier methods such as condoms and dental dams are best.
- Receive the Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines. If you are HIV+, you may also need additional immunizations depending on your T cell count. Those additional vaccines include measles/mumps/rubella, pneumococcus, and varicella (chicken pox).
- If under the age of 26, get the HPV vaccine. This will reduce the chance for anal, oral, and penile cancer.
- Talk with their physician about substance use, if relevant. If you choose to use substances (e.g., “poppers” during sex) and are unwilling to stop, consider using them in the safest ways possible. As always, it’s best to avoid tobacco, limit alcohol, and limit/avoid other drugs as much as possible
- Take special care to maximize your mental health. Get a support network in place.
- Get help if you’re experience domestic violence.
- See your physician regularly to maintain your health
- Anal pap smear. This is a test to screen for anal cancer.
- PSA blood test or digital rectal exam. These are screening tests for prostate cancer. The PSA, however, is not recommended routinely by the USPSTF because it is often positive even when there is no cancer. Talk with your physician about the pros/cons about the PSA before getting it.
If you have unprotected anal sex, especially with multiple partners, you should be checked for the following infections and health conditions:
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
- Other sexually transmitted infections
Your physician may wish to screen you for these infections even if you do not have unprotected anal sex.
If you are HIV+ it is extremely important that you continue to receive medical care for HIV. This can be through specialized infectious disease physicians or your primary care. Keeping the HIV viral load low is the best way to live a long and healthy life and avoid spreading the virus to others.