- ‘Really, Really Messed Up My Life’
- Quick Start to Healthy Weight Loss
- Black Men Can Beat Prostate Cancer
- Health Screenings for Older Black Men
- Healthy Man of the Month for July 2016
- HIV Testing is HIV Prevention
- Your ‘Mental’ Endurance
- Bisexual Health Priorities
- Entertainment CEO DonJuan Clark
- New Drug Helps Men with Melanoma
Bisexual Health Priorities
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s healthcare providers have identified ten most common health concerns for bisexual people. While not all of these items apply to everyone, it’s wise to be aware of these issues. If you identify as bisexual, its key to discuss your health concerns openly and safely with a medical provider you trust and is sensitive to your needs.
1. Come Out to your Healthcare Provider
In order to provide you with the best care possible, your clinician should know you are bisexual. It should prompt him/her to ask specific questions about you and offer appropriate testing. Many providers are less familiar with bisexuality and may make assumptions about your behavior. Be honest and you will get better care.
2. HIV/AIDS, Safe Sex
Many men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of HIV infection, but the effectiveness of safe sex in reducing the rate of HIV infection is one of the LGBT community’s great success stories. If you are HIV positive, you need to be in care with a good HIV provider. Safe sex is proven to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting HIV.
3. Hepatitis Immunization and Screening
If you have sex with multiple partners (of any gender) you are at an increased risk of sexually transmitted infection with the viruses that cause the serious condition of the liver known as hepatitis. If you have Hepatitis C there are new, more effective treatments for that infection.
4. Fitness (Diet and Exercise)
Problems with body image are more common among bisexuals and bisexuals are much more likely to experience an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa. While regular exercise is very good for your health too much of a good thing can be harmful. The use of substances such as anabolic steroids and certain supplements can be dangerous. Being overweight or obesity are problems that also affect many bisexuals.
5. Substance Use/Alcohol
Bisexuals may use substances at a higher rate than the general population, and not just in larger communities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These include a number of substances ranging from amyl nitrate (“poppers”), to marijuana, Ecstasy, and amphetamines. The long-term effects of many of these substances are unknown; however current wisdom suggests potentially serious consequences as we age. If your drug use is interfering with work, school or relationships, your healthcare provider can connect you to help.
Depression and anxiety appear to affect bisexuals at a higher rate than in the general population. The likelihood of depression or anxiety may be greater, and the problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports. Many bisexuals keep their orientation and sexual behavior a secret from their providers. Adolescents and young adults may be at particularly high risk of suicide because of these concerns. Culturally sensitive mental health services targeted specifically at gay men may be more effective in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of these conditions.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur in sexually active bisexuals at a high rate. These include STD infections for which effective treatment is available (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, pubic lice, and others), and for which no cure is available (HIV, Hepatitis, Human Papilloma Virus, herpes, etc).
8. Prostate, Testicular, and Colon Cancer
Bisexuals may be at risk for death by these cancers. Screening for these cancers occurs at different times across the life cycle, and access to screening services may be harder for bisexuals because of not getting culturally sensitive care. All bisexuals should undergo these screenings routinely as recommended for the general population.
Recent studies seem to support the notion that bisexuals use tobacco at much higher rates than heterosexuals, reaching nearly 50 percent in several studies. Tobacco-related health problems include lung disease and lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a whole host of other serious problems. All gay men should be screened for and offered culturally sensitive prevention and cessation programs for tobacco use.
10. HPV (virus that causes warts and can lead to anal cancer)
Of all the sexually transmitted infections bisexuals are at risk for, human papilloma virus (HPV) — which cause anal and genital warts — is often thought to be little more than an unsightly inconvenience. However, these infections may play a role in the increased rates of anal cancers in bisexual men.