Depression is fueling risky sex and drug use in gay men, according to a new report by a leading gay men’s health group. Living on the Edge: Gay Men, Depression, and Risk-taking was released Wednesday by the Medius Institute for Gay Men’s Health, a health advocacy group in New York City. The study pointed out that 17% of gay men have depression, approximately twice the rate of depression among the general public. The study found strong links between depression and high-risk behaviors, including substance abuse and unsafe sex.
“Clearly, depression and related disorders are a major challenge for gay men’s health,” said Spencer Cox, executive director of the Medius Institute. “For the most part depression doesn’t seem to cause high-risk behavior directly, but it certainly pumps up the volume on risk-taking.”
The institute advised integrating mental health care referrals with programs combating HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as making mental health opportunities and educational programs specific to gay men more accessible. (The Advocate)