Sex is not on the agenda for researchers looking at the attitudes of gay and bisexual men towards their health and wellbeing.

The Gay Men’s Health and Wellbeing Survey, launched last week by the University of Western Sydney’s Men’s Health Services, takes a broad approach to gay health issues outside the STD arena.

We’re interested in general gay men’s health. This is not a questionnaire about HIV or sexual health. If people want to talk about that, that’s fine, but that’s not our specific interest, survey researcher Greg Millan told Sydney Star Observer.

There are a lot of surveys out there at the moment that are all generally coming from HIV land or sexual health land and that’s what they’re about.

They’ll say that they want to know about gay men’s lives, but they don’t, they want to know about their sex lives. There’s a reason for those and they need to get their data, but our survey doesn’t do that.

Expanding upon a similar focus group survey conducted in 2000, the research will be used as an advocacy tool as the Government develops its national men’s health policy.

The way the Commonwealth thinks is, -˜Oh gay men, oh we give them all that money for that HIV/AIDS stuff, they must be alright’. And that’s not about gay men’s health nor would it be about lesbian health at the same time, Millan said.

The health of gay men and lesbians is a broad-reaching thing. Most gay men die of heart disease, cancers, a huge range of things -” the main killers of gay men will never be HIV in this country.

Gay men’s health is bad because of heart attacks and cancer and bad lifestyles, which we know from other research. We have a higher than average propensity to smoke, drink too much. We suffer from stress, we suffer from higher levels of depression and anxiety.

Now none of those things are funded specifically by the government, so part of doing our survey was to use some of the data as part of the consultation for the men’s health policy.

info: To take part in the online survey takes approximately 10 minutes. It can be found at
www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=flqpfJ5JRL1AZvPf6CxCiw_3d_3d.

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