The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) recently posted on Gay.com ten issues they feel gay men should discuss with their health care provider. They are listed here for your information. The men of Q-City encourage you to discuss any of these that are of concern for you personally with your health care provider. If that is not possible, for whatever reason, we would encourage you to contact us with your concerns and we would be glad to try and help. Remember though that if you are dealing with any sort of pressing medical problem please seek immediate medical attention from your own health care provider, a local emergency room or if it is an immediate crisis you can always call 911. Our suggestions and direction may be helpful in the long run but we are not able to provide hands on care at this time.
So here are the top ten to discuss with your health care provider, with a few comments from Q-City after each one:
- HIV/AIDS, safe sex: This is a big one, and still unfortunately a very real problem. If your health care provider is not someone you can talk to about HIV/safe sex issues, or you do not have a health care provider, contact us here at Q-City. You could also drop in for a visit at the STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) Clinic at Denver Public Health, 605 Bannock, Monday-Friday. You can call 303-436-7200 for more information or go to the Denver Health web site: www.denverhealth.org. Click on Public Health. This is no longer a free clinic but the cost is very reasonable. Their gay friendly and very knowledgeable staff can help with any HIV or safe sex issues! HIV testing and counseling also occurs on a routine basis at The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Center, www.coloradoglbt.org and through the Colorado AIDS Project, www.coloradoaidsproject.org .
- Substance abuse: Here is another BIG one! Lots of substances of concern but one of the worst currently is crystal meth. Take home message is that crystal meth is a fucking bummer, don’t start with it. Check out the main web page for more information on it. The GLBT Center (www.coloradoglbt.org.) is currently offering a support group for folks struggling with crystal meth.
- Depression / anxiety: Gay men appear to have problems with these issues at a greater rate than the general society. Perhaps it is the added burdens of homophobia and for many a closeted or partially closeted life-style and the self image and identity problems that haunt the closet. Contact us for further “coming out” resources locally. There are also many gay friendly therapists in the community, several of whom see clients on a sliding fee scale. Check out the local publications, Diverse City and Out Front Colorado, where many therapists advertise.
- Hepatitis immunization: Hepatitis in its various forms is often sexually transmitted. Gay men are at particular risk. Vaccines are available for Hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis C can be transmitted sexually but usually happens these days from sharing needles, unfortunately there is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C. If you already have Hepatitis C check out www.hepc-connection.org. Get vaccinated, practice safe sex and don’t share needles to shoot drugs! The Immunization Clinic at Denver Public Health can provide these vaccines. Call 303-436-7200 and ask for the Immunization Clinic. They can give you hours of operation and provide details on the cost.
- STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Diseases): We will address many of these STD’s here at Q-City in the future. If you do not feel comfortable bringing this one up with your current provider head on down to Denver Public Health’s STD Clinic at 605 Bannock, Monday- Friday, hours vary slightly but basically its 8:00 am-4:30pm. www.denverhealth.org and then click on Public Health.
- Prostate, testicular and colon cancer: Periodic thorough physical exams with your clothes off are important to your health and these exams need to be done by someone familiar with their way around the gay male body!
- ALCOHOL: Unfortunately the abuse of alcohol is a major source of illness and death in the gay male community. Since we do not accept money from any alcohol manufacturer here at Q-City we will soon address this head on. In the mean time check out the many resources available locally to help with drinking problems. Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) does work for many and they have extensive local web access and information. Simply search A.A. locally.
- Tobacco: Unfortunately another big problem for us. Lots available in the way of support and help to stop. Call 1-800-639-QUIT or check out this web site; www.co.quitnet.com. This web site comes highly recommended!
- Fitness (diet and exercise): We plan in the future to present healthful options for eating right and getting fit and it does not have to involve endless hours at a gym, supplements and steroids! Stay tuned.
- Anal Papilloma (anal warts): A particularly concerning issue for those HIV positive, but an important issue for all gay men. Get your butthole looked at periodically by someone who knows what they are doing and what they are looking at, from a medical standpoint that is of course! Actually we don’t care who you have looking at your butt as long as it is, on occasion, a legitimate medical exam!
Q-CITY TIP: This list of health issues of concern to gay men may at first appear overwhelming and further “proof” that we are “Satan’s Spawn”. That of course is bullshit! Our “difference” is actually a gift and these particular health issues can be dealt with if we face them head on and honestly. This will only make us a stronger people in the long run and enable us to be guides for the rest of humanity in the dance that is life on earth!