If you’ve never heard of Movember(opens in a new tab), you’re missing out on a twofold opportunity that comes but once a year: First, the opportunity to raise awareness for those health issues that specifically affect men and man-adjacent people, and second, the excuse to grow a big, sexy Gay Mustache(opens in a new tab) for a cause.
While many gay men are diligent about addressing the parts of their healthcare affected by being gay, it’s easy to forget that there are specific things to keep in mind in order to stay healthy as a man. Here are four health tips for men from the team at PrEP2Me to incorporate during Movember and all year round:
Check Yourself Out
(A note: As LGBTQ+ health professionals, we know that people refer to their genitals in a variety of ways. For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to use clinical terminology to keep things neutral.)
While the penis, prostate, and testicles are fun to play with during sex, many people shy away from having them examined in a medical setting -- but we cannot stress how important it is to practice prevention for penile, testicular, and prostate cancers. If you’ve never given yourself a testicular cancer self-exam, follow these steps, and check in with a doctor if you find anything unusual. If you’ve never had your prostate screened, now is the time: prostate cancer affects 1 out of 6 men in the United States, and without a professional screening, your risk of late-stage diagnosis increases.
If you’re a trans man, your male sex organs may also include your vagina, clitoris, and uterus, and it’s just as important for you to participate in necessary screenings as it is for men with prostates. Receiving pelvic exams, Pap smears, and other gynecological services can be sensitive for men, but establishing a relationship with a respectful, trusted provider can mean all the difference when detecting problems such as cervical cancer, PCOS, endometriosis, and more.
Finally, if you’ve been struggling with any form of sexual dysfunction, now is the time to stop being shy and address it with a healthcare professional. Erectile dysfunction delayed orgasms, early ejaculation, and other forms of sexual dysfunction aren’t just bummers -- they can actually be red flags for other health concerns.
Get Tested for STIs
While sexually transmitted infections (STIs) aren’t just a men’s health concern, some STIs do disproportionately affect men who have sex with men(opens in a new tab) (MSM), including HIV, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), hepatitis C, and syphilis. MSM should also be aware of certain types of chlamydia and gonorrhea that affect them in specific ways: if you’ve had receptive anal or oral sex, you may be at risk for these conditions in the rectum and throat; if you’ve had insertive anal sex, you may be at risk for these conditions at the top of the penis. Keep in mind that having other untreated STIs can place you at a higher risk of receiving or transmitting HIV, only increasing the importance of regularly-scheduled STI testing for sexually active men. If you’re looking for a compassionate, culturally-competent, judgment-free place to get tested this month, visit our clinic at Central Outreach Wellness Center.
Don’t Forget to Be Social
Gay men have been carving out places to gather and be together for centuries, sometimes for sex, sometimes just for companionship. Building meaningful relationships with others -- including relationships with other men -- has a wide range of benefits to your overall health. Whether you’re doing well or in crisis, a strong support group can help you avoid isolating yourself, which in turn can protect you from its long-term effects. Prolonged isolation can lead to an increased risk of:
- Substance abuse and addiction
- High blood pressure
- Mood and behavioral struggles
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
This is especially important for gay men, who are already at a higher risk of mental health struggles than others (particularly those who are living with HIV/AIDS). Hookups and friend group dates alike can make all the difference for your wellbeing.
Start a Daily PrEP Regimen
This may be unsurprising coming from the team at PrEP2Me, but we cannot stress the importance of beginning a daily regimen of PrEP HIV prevention medicine for men who are sexually active. This is especially true for those who have more than one consistent sexual partner, and those whose partner’s status is not HIV-negative or untransmittable. When you take PrEP daily, you’re 99% protected from HIV infection. This is one of the greatest things you can do for your own health, and for the health of other men. You and your partners deserve to enjoy your life and have sex worry-free!
At PrEP2Me, we make it easy to get PrEP online and become protected from HIV. Starting with an at-home STI test, our process is simple, and you’ll receive your prescription in the mail wherever you are in the country. PrEP2Me offers care regardless of your insurance situation, ensuring that anyone who needs PrEP has access to their medication.
Get started with PrEP2Me, where we make staying safe easy and accessible for everyone!