The Gay Men's Health Survey (GMHS) has identified that recently a large number of gay men who have been tested positive for HIV experience unemployment.
It also shows that about 50% of gay men have had unprotected intercourse of which 7.6% were forced to engage in sexual activity against their will. It was also shocking to find that men in the age group of 20 to 40 were tested positive for HIV. The result of the study was disclosed at the 4th Annual All Ireland Gay Health Forum which was staged by the Gay Men's Health Project. Topics that are related to gay men such as hate crime, mental health, profiles of services, body image, ethnicity, HIV secondary prevention and transgender services were discussed at the forum.
Various hardships and the realities of the lives faced by gay and bisexual men were discussed. The survey analysed the sexual health experiences and attitudes of 2,000 gay men. When the same study was conducted in 2000 about 69.9% of them were tested for HIV but in 2004, just 46.5% of respondents were tested for HIV. This showed that the health and education outreach programmes have to be continued and made to reach the people said Mick Quinlan, project co-ordinator.
The project provides clinical, outreach and counselling services to gay and bisexual men and is funded by the Health Service Executive. Such projects should be aimed at men hailing from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds as men with higher education know about the ill effects of HIV and safe sexual health practice.