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Friday, October 10, 2014

¿HEY GAY MEN, CAN WE JUST BE HEALTHY?

By many accounts, we gay men are a pretty unhealthy bunch. We are much more likely to smoke than our heterosexual brothers, tend to drink more (and more often) and are many times more likely to take drugs. Pretty much the only measure where we tend to be healthier than straight men is that we’re less likely to be obese, but then we negate that by having such a poor body image that we’ve redefined anyone who doesn’t have perfect washboard abs as being ‘gay fat’. And then there’s the whole sex thing.

Your average gay man will have more sexual partners than our heterosexual brothers. It’s not all that uncommon for a gay man to have more sexual partners in a year than a straight man does in a lifetime. Some of us may even hit that target in a long weekend. And with this higher number of sexual partners comes a greater likelihood of picking up an STI. The perception of gay men as irresponsible, sex-obsessed party boys is never far from being truthful, is it? It’s a lifestyle choice.
And that’s what it’s down to, isn’t it? I’m conscious that every day I make choices that have a health impact. Sometimes I make unhealthy choices (some fast-food or a week’s worth of junk in day). Increasingly, as I get older, I make healthier choices. It’s the choices that we all make, whether that’s to exercise, consider what we eat, or to drink and take drugs, that will impact on our health and our longevity.

If you want to live a long time, here’s what you need to do: don’t take recreational drugs; eat fewer fatty foods; have no more than 6gms of salt and eat at least five, probably seven, portions of fruit or veg per day; drink alcohol only in moderation and not on consecutive days; never smoke; exercise regularly and floss your teeth. And pray that you don’t fall under a bus as none of this advice will help you if that happens.

Of course I would urge everyone to make healthy choices in life. It doesn’t mean that I’m blind to how difficult it is to see beyond the next ten or fifteen years of your life. I’m all too aware that when you’re twenty you think that nothing can harm you, that when you’re thirty you probably think that forty is as old as you want to get. Believe me, I’ve been there. It’s a tough lesson to learn but the choices that you make now will have an impact on how long you live and on your quality of life.

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