The AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s raised the visibility of gay men and brought gay men’s health to the attention of the medical community; unfortunately we focused on HIV and STIs and ignored other health concerns. The development of highly active anti-retrovirals in 1996 revolutionized the treatment of HIV/AIDS and has resulted in more HIV positive gay men living longer. However, HIV remains a major health concern for the gay community and men who have sex with men continue have the highest rates of HIV infection in the United States.
The gay community has experienced devasdating loss as a result of HIV/AIDS and developed numerous social service organizations in reponse.
Despite efforts at promoting safer sex, since 2000 there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of STIs in urban gay men, several studies have shown that HIV positive men are continuing to have unprotected intercourse. African-American and Latino MSM have the highest incidence of HIV infection and they tend to get infected at an earlier age and at higher rates than their white counterparts . Men who have sex with men have an increased risk of urethritis, proctitis, pharyngitis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, herpes, anal and genital warts and HIV. Gay men are at risk for all forms of hepatitis, particularly Hepatitis B from sexual transmission. Sexually active gay and bisexual men should all receive the Hepatitis B vaccine .
4. Anonymous [Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association]. Health care needs of gay men and lesbians in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1996;275(17):1354-1359.