Gay and bisexual men are more likely than hetereosexual men to experience negative mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression, and suicidal thoughts. A group of researchers concluded that approximately between 30 and 40% of queer men develop ideas of harming themselves in the course of their lives.
Differences are also found with health behaviours, such as substance use and sex behaviours that lead to increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Gay and bisexual men have a higher likelihood of using substances compared to heterosexual men, including nicotine and alcohol, ketamine, GHB, and methamphetamine (crystal meth).
In North America, crystal meth use among men who have sex with men has often been cited as a “community crisis.” In fact, the Ontario HIV Treatment Network suggests that between 6-16% of gay and bisexual men use crystal meth compared to 0.6% of the general population.
Crystal meth use, and other substance use, increases the likelihood of engaging in risky sex. For example, PnP (party and play), or chemsex, is when gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men use drugs to enhance a sexual experience. Crystal meth, GHB and ketamine are commonly used during PnP encounters.
A study with HIV-positive queer men showed that a primary reason that motivates queer men to engage in PnP is that it can help them manage negative feelings that come from discrimination and stigma about their sexual identity or HIV status.
In this way, PnP can increase confidence, create feelings of sexual and emotional intimacy, and lead to a feeling of acceptance and community with other users
Gay and bisexual men still remain one of the most at risk groups for contracting HIV and syphilis. In addition, men who engage in sexual activities with other men have an increased risk of contracting human papillomavirus (HPV), which also puts them at a higher risk of developing anal cancer, compared to the overall population. The odds of developing this type of cancer are particularly higher for men who are living with HIV and HPV.
Adolescents and young adults who identify gay or bisexual men also have higher odds of developing problems such as binge eating, concerns about weight and body shape (and an associated use of diet pills), and poor body image compared to their straight peers.
After analyzing over 70 studies on sexual assault in LGB people, a group of researchers concluded that gay and bisexual men are at an increased risk of being sexually assaulted in the context of a hate crime than lesbian and bisexual women.