Men and Health
Previous large-scale population studies have reported that gay and bisexual men may be at increased risk for health disparities. This study was conducted to determine whether health status and health risk behaviours of Canadian men vary based on sexual orientation identity. Utilizing the Canadian Community Health Survey data (Cycle 2.1, 2003; n=49,901), we conducted multivariable logistic regression to assess the independent effects of sexual orientation on health status and health risk behaviours. For all multivariate models, we calculated odds ratios, p-values, standard errors, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using the bootstrap re-sampling procedure recommended by Statistics Canada. When compared to heterosexual men, gay and bisexual men did not report more respiratory conditions; had lower rates of obesity and overweight BMI; and reported more mood/anxiety disorders, and a history of lifetime suicidality. Gay and bisexual men did not report higher rates of daily smoking or risky drinking, however, gay men reported an almost six-fold increase in STD diagnoses when compared to heterosexual men. This study represents the largest-known population-based data analysis on health risks and behaviours among men of varying sexual orientations. These findings raise important concerns regarding the impact of sexual orientation on mental and sexual health. Limitations of this data set, including those associated with measurement of sexual orientation, are discussed. Further research is required to understand the mechanisms that influence these health resiliencies and disparities.
Previous research has identified alcohol and drug use as predictive of unsafe sexual behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM). The purpose of this study was to assess whether substances associated with the greatest alteration in consciousness are associated with increased risk behavior, and to explore any relationship between internalized homonegativity and alcohol and other drug use. Participants in the study were 422 Midwestern MSM who volunteered to evaluate a seminar on sexuality and intimacy between men. Alcohol, chemical use, and dependency during the last 2 weeks were assessed using standardized questions and CAGE screening questions. Internalized homonegativity was assessed using the 26-item Reactions to Homosexuality scale. Components of unsafe sexual behavior during the preceding 3 months was assessed using dichotomous variables and collapsed into an overall measure of contextualized risk. Consistent and strong associations (ORs between 2.32 and 4.57) were found between unsafe sexual behavior and alcohol and other drug use. The greater the alcohol problem and the harder the drugs and the more they may impact consciousness or disinhibition, the greater the apparent association with unsafe sex. Degree of alteration of consciousness and disinhibition appear to be the common underlying dimensions of risk, although dose-level data were not available. The data did not support any consistent association between internalized homonegativity and use of drugs and alcohol.
Please see our Gay Community page to learn more about some of the work being done in Ontario on gay and bisexual men and HIV.