When thinking about health risks of gay and bisexual men, it can be worthwhile taking a look at their mental or psychological well-being.
Several studies have found that homosexuals experience an increased risk of addictive behaviour, mental illness (such as depression) or attempted suicide. Experts attribute this to the ongoing physical and psychological discrimination that the majority of homosexuals face to this day. Members of the LGBT community are constantly being exposed to the feeling of "being different" and face far greater developmental challenges in their lives, such as having to repeatedly out themselves. It can therefore be assumed that maintaining mental health is not an easy task. The feeling of belonging to a sexual minority is still a stressor today and is associated with negative feelings such as insecurity and fear. For some the stressor is "only" present at a certain phase of their lives and they grow with their challenges to become personalities with a high level of mental well-being. For others, the stress factor is present throughout. Studies show that the risk of suffering from depression is twice as high as in the average population. In addition there is a four times higher probability of attempted suicide and the likelihood of an anxiety disorder is increased by an order of magnitude.
Mental well-being and prevention
Taking all the above into account it should now become evident that mental well-being and sexual satisfaction are interrelated. At this point again, the importance of HIV prevention becomes clear. Someone carrying a greater mental or psychological burden will also pay attention to their physical health in a different way to someone without this extra worry. The "homo-negative" experiences described here can be strongly internalised and lead to self-stigmatisation. Self-stigmatisation is the self-attribution of socially negative characteristics. This is followed by one's own dissatisfaction and self-degradation, including being dissatisfied with one's own sex life. In this situation, people often end up taking less care of themselves and self-destructive patterns of behaviour emerge. Relevant health information or services such as special offers for testing are also often ignored in such circumstances.
Hein & Fiete as a place for social support
It is for this reason that Hein & Fiete is not only committed to prevention in terms of an individual’s health behaviour, but also works toward changing people's living conditions in order to promote the mental and physical well-being of gay and bisexual men. As a place for social support, we offer space for self-help groups, organise events on various current topics and are available for you in person with information at our switchboard centre.
Further information on the mental health of gay and bisexual men can be found at