All People Face Certain Risks to Their Health
The importance of sexual health, including the realization of sexual rights, for all groups of the population, including the LGBTQ+ community, is more relevant today than ever. The health of certain groups of the LGBTQ+ community is exposed to different and uneven risks, depending on the difficulties of adapting to society or exposure to certain physical diseases and emotional disorders. Some groups are more at risk of physical health, others - emotional. In general, sexual health is either there or it is not, and for the LGBT community this is a task that each representative solves, although with the support of the community, but in general, through personal efforts and searches.
Today, the task of gaining a full-fledged sexual health for a representative of the LGBT community is complicated, on one hand, by the pressure of heterosexual society and discriminatory legislation, and on the other hand, by attempts by community members to copy the already dubious models of relations in modern heterosexual society.
And in this case, the sexual health of the LGBT community is divided into many local tasks, and this greatly complicates the acquisition of full-fledged sexual health. All of the above descriptions also apply to the sexual health of LGBT activists, with perhaps a more complex picture of the world. The fact is that an LGBT activist in one way or the other, does not just fight for the rights of the community but for human rights as a whole.
All people face certain risks to their health. And while everyone may have their own individual risks due to many factors beyond sexual orientation and preferred sexual practices, including heredity and age, it is important to understand what common health risks LGBT+ people may face and what steps can be taken to stay healthy.
STDs are Very Common in Homosexual People
- Men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting HIV, which causes AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections, including hepatitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
- To protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections. Use a condom or other protection. Use a new latex or polyurethane condom whenever you have sex, especially for anal sex, but ideally for oral sex as well.
- Use only water and silicone-based lubricants, not petroleum jelly, hand lotions, cold cream, or oil. Oil-based lubricants can break down latex condoms and cause them to break.
- Do not give your sex toys to others to use, use them by putting a condom on them and cleaning your devices every time, both before and after sex.
- Be aware of the risks associated with sexual places. Get vaccinated. Vaccinations can protect against hepatitis A and hepatitis B, which lead to severe liver disease and can be transmitted through sexual contact.
- However, not all sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by vaccination. No vaccine can protect against hepatitis C, which can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and death.
- The HPV vaccine is available for men under the age of 26, and HPV itself has been linked to anal cancer in men.
- Get yourself tested and ask your partner to be tested. Do not have unprotected sex until you are sure that you and your partner are not infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. Getting tested is very important, as many people are simply unaware that they are infected, and others may not be honest about their health.
- Different types of testing may have different "window periods" - the length of time between HIV infection and when tests show infection. If you take tests during this period, you can get incorrect results and pass HIV infection to other people during this window.
LGBT People are More Likely to Experience Problems due to Their Appearance and Eating Disorders
- If your body urges you to eat more in stressful situation, then you are probably at risk of anorexia—eating too less, or bulimia—eating too much.
- If you are struggling with similar issues, seek help. Talk to your doctor or therapist about a treatment strategy.
- Seek help for substance use as LGBT people may face specific situations that may lead to excessive substance use or relying on bars and clubs in search of socialization and peer support. Other factors include stress associated with trying to be heterosexual, coming out, trauma from bullying, violence, abuse or bad attitude, and discrimination.
- If you have a substance use problem, remember that help is available. Local LGBT health centers, psychotherapy services, or LGBT centers often offer help with addiction treatment.
Domestic Violence can Affect Anyone in Relationship
Domestic violence can be observed in any relationship. Alarm signals may be associated with a partner who:
- Threatens to tell friends, loved ones, co-workers, or those around you about your sexual orientation.
- Tells you that the authorities will not help a member of a sexual minority.
- Tells you that the breakup means that he/she considers same-sex relationships to be deviant.
- Tells you that violence is common in homosexual relationships and men are naturally violent.
Such relationships can lead you to depression, anxiety, or hopelessness. If you do not want to disclose your sexual orientation, you are less likely to seek help in the event of an attack. However, the only way to get out of the cycle of domestic violence is to act, sooner the better.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, tell someone about what is happening - a friend, loved one, a therapist, or someone else with whom you have a close relationship. Consider calling the Domestic Violence Helpline and come up with a plan to escape your abuser.
Standard Medical Care as a Priority
Don't let your fear of facing homophobia or homosexuality-related stigma drive you away from regular health care. Let go of your fears and take charge of your health.
Find a doctor that suits you. Ask about health screenings recommended for everyone, such as checking blood pressure or cholesterol, screening for prostate, testicular, or colon cancer.
If you are not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, schedule regular screening for STDs. Tell your doctor about any health problems you may have.
Prejudice and Discrimination Affect Both Society as a Whole and Individuals
It has been conclusively proven that LGBT+ people find a higher than expected prevalence of mental disorders, and once their rights and equality are recognized, the rate starts to drop.
Prejudice and discrimination affect both society as a whole and individuals. On a social level, prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people takes the form of everyday stereotypes about members of these group. On an individual level, such prejudice and discrimination can also have negative consequences, especially if lesbian, gay and bisexual people try to hide or deny their sexual orientation.
While many lesbians and gay men develop skills to cope with the pressures of social stigma regarding homosexuality, this form of prejudice can have serious negative consequences for their health and well-being.
The impact of stigma on individuals and groups may be reduced or exacerbated by other characteristics such as race, nationality, religion, or disability. Some lesbian, gay and bisexual people may be less stigmatized, while for others race, gender, religion, disability or other characteristics may exacerbate the negative impact of prejudice and discrimination… Prejudice, discrimination based on sexual orientation and violence are significant sources of stress for lesbians , gay and bisexual. Social support is crucial in coping with stress, but discrimination and hostility make it very difficult for them to find such support. The same applies equally to transgender people.
Mental Health is not Only Mental Illness
Mental health is not only mental illness. Frank conversation and support in an emotionally difficult situation can help overcome difficulties that, without such help, can develop into a problem that will require a long and difficult treatment to resolve.
© 2022 Hamza Hussaini