UK group hopes to improve health of gay men

Published: July 2, 2014

LONDON — Gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by poor sexual health, mental health challenges and use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, Public Health England, a health agency, said in the first of several documents to be released, Pink News, a British gay news agency, reports.

The documents, which researchers there plan to use as a framework for action over the next six months, find that men who have sex with men account for about 5.5 percent of the male population in the United Kingdom. Public Health England workers hope that by targeting these areas, they will “help [men who have sex with men] to enjoy long, healthy lives, to have respectful and fulfilling social and sexual relationships and to significantly reduce the annul number of new HIV infections … by 2020.”

Workers with the agency said gay and bi men there are twice as likely to be depressed or anxious as straight men, that smoking rates are higher, gonorrhea rates are higher and the number of sexually transmitted diseases there has risen sharply in recent years. Some of that has been attributed to increased testing, but researchers are also concerned with “ongoing high levels of unsafe sex,” the Pink News article said.

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