The gay sex questions you’re afraid to ask your doctor

From the Huffington Post

No one likes going to the doctor. It’s scary.

But for gay men, it’s even scarier. For one, gay men experience a great deal of stigma and shaming, which makes difficult conversations even harder. Gay men, as a population, are also at higher risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases and conditions. That’s also scary. Lastly, predicting a health care provider’s response to gay-specific isn’t easy. Some doctors are totally comfortable talking about gay sex and gay men’s health; in other instances, doctors shut down entirely.

The reality is, gay men need to feel empowered to have difficult conversations with their doctor. After all, your life is literally on the line. And if your doctor doesn’t respond with professionalism and understanding, it’s time to find someone new.

To get the ball rolling, I asked the gay internet (i.e., my Facebook page) for questions that they’re afraid to ask their doctor — and walked the walk by asking my own doctor, Dr. Jay Gladstein. Here’s what he had to say:

Smoking and HIV – One man’s story


Smoking is especially dangerous for people who are living with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. Brian learned that lesson the hard way, when he had a stroke—a brain attack—at age 43. In this video, Brian talks about surviving HIV-related medical problems—then nearly losing his life because of smoking.  See All Brian’s videos.

And from LOGO online…

Smoking now leads to more deaths in the LGBT community than HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control, which also reports that while 20.5% of heterosexuals smoke, 30.8% of  gay people use tobacco products. “We know that approximately one million LGBT people [in the U.S.] will die early from tobacco-related causes,” says Dr. Scout from the Network for LGBT Health Equity. “We want to save those lives instead.”

I you’re HIV-positive and smoke, the combination can take even more years off your life: According to the Network for LGBT Health Equity, being HIV-positive takes an average of 5.1 years off one’s life, but people who smoke and have HIV die 12.3 years earlier on average. Yet the smoking rate is two to three times higher among adults who are HIV-positive than in the general public.

 

Facing AIDS theme of National HIV Testing Day

From AIDS.gov

Facing AIDS is a digital photo sharing initiative with the goal of reducing HIV-related stigma and promoting HIV testing. Many AIDS.gov blog readers have contributed personal messages to the Facing AIDS photo gallery, most recently in recognition of World AIDS Day (December 1, 2012 – visit the gallery to see the inspiring messages collected over the five years of the initiative). Many of your Facing AIDS messages highlight the importance of confronting stigma and echo the theme of National HIV Testing Day: Take the Test. Take Control. That consistency made it easy for our team to re-purpose the photos into the newest video in our Facing AIDS series. To learn how participate in Facing AIDS, read this blog post. To watch other videos in the Facing AIDS series, please use this playlist Exit Disclaimer. Click here to learn more about locating HIV testing near you. Please watch and share the “Facing AIDS for National HIV Testing Day” video.