The health needs of gay men: a discussion of the literature and implications for nursing


Anne Robertson, Department of Nursing Studies, Adam Ferguson Building George Square, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9LL, Scotland


Although there is a general dearth of nursing literature on health issues specific to gay (homosexual) men, the literature reviewed shows that gay men have particular concerns related to anti-homosexual feelings anticipated and experienced from health professionals The effects of homophobia in wider society may cause high levels of emotional distress in some gay men, which is associated with a higher incidence of substance misuse, parasuicide, bipolar psychiatric disorders and depression Gay men also have specific needs with regard to general medical problems, including hepatitis, HIV infection and some other sexually transmitted diseases Gay men may also present to health services for a wide range of general medical, surgical and mental health problems Some specific health needs are discussed general health, sexual health and bereavement counselling These issues may affect individuals differently through various stages in the lifespan, and nurses should be cognizant of them during their assessment of client needs Minimum counselling skills, together with appropriate training about gay issues, are required if nurses are to deal effectively with clients’needs