Intended for healthcare professionals


Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men: time to end the fixation with HIV

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 02 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4739

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. M Pakianathan, consultant in HIV and sexual health,
  2. N Daley, foundation year 2 doctor,
  3. A Hegazi, consultant in HIV and sexual health
  1. Courtyard Clinic, Wandsworth Integrated Sexual Health, St George’s University Hospital Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: M Pakianathan Mark.Pakianathan{at}

Attention must shift to broader inequalities in health and wellbeing

HIV has been inextricably linked with gay men’s health since the term “gay related immune deficiency” was first used to refer to AIDS in the early 1980s. Today, the collective emphasis of health interventions targeted at gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men remains focused on preventing sexually transmitted infection, to the extent that absence of HIV has come to be regarded almost synonymously with gay men’s health.

Beyond HIV, health disparities in this group of men encompass a range of physical conditions, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.1 They are also more likely to experience physical disability and to report poorer self rated health.1 Determinants of these differences have received limited public and medical attention and remain relatively unstudied. Further inequality is driven by an unwillingness to seek medical care or disclose sexuality to healthcare providers because of perceived negative healthcare experiences.2 Demographic and socioeconomic factors also contribute independently to health disparities within this diverse population.3 …

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