Gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM) are a very vulnerable population in Nigeria. Their mental and physical health concerns are often overlooked because there is no room for them in our country.
Also, the marginalization of adult same-sex relationships has caused discrimination and violence against them. Nigeria has successfully created an environment that compromises their human right to health care and life.
HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT AFFECT GAY MEN AND MSM
1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: research gays and MSM are prone to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases even more than women. This is because the walls of the anus are thin and easily torn, therefore creating an entry point for the virus.
Reduce your risk to infections by:
* Use condoms: having multiple sexual partners is very common in this community, so it is advisable to protect yourself at all times.
* Being monogamous: chose to have only one partner and get tested before getting into any sexual relationship.
* At least quarterly medical checks so you can get ahead of any disease. Less than 50% of gays and MSM know their Sexually transmitted disease and HIV status.
* Regulate your alcohol intake and stay away from drugs as these may affect your judgment and can put you in compromising situations.
* Vaccination: vaccines for Hepatitis A, B, C and Human Papilloma-virus (HPV) can provide long protection from these diseases. They are a bit expensive but the benefits outweigh the cost.
Take advantage of the CONSULT A DOCTOR platform to schedule a testing and vaccination session wherever you are.
* Take Pre-exposure prophylaxis and Post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent diseases like HIV.
2. Your mental health is very important: Gays and MSM are at a higher risk of depression and anxiety especially in Nigeria where it is unacceptable to be gay. Look for someone to confide in, a friend or professional.
3. Address self-esteem issues: Most gay men in Nigeria end up getting married to women when they know the relationship can never be fulfilling for them. This affects self-esteem and confidence level.
4. Seek help for substance abuse: when you find yourself seeking comfort in substances or behaviors that makes life a little more tolerable, then you need professional help.
5. Routine health checks: Do not let the fear and stigma of homophobia prevent you from getting medical help. Look for a doctor you are comfortable with and be truthful about your sexual orientation. This will help the doctor get all the facts and ensure quality care.
Nigeria can accommodate the LGBTQ population through Supportive legislation, policy, community empowerment and addressing stigma, discrimination, and violence.
Hospitals and health care centers should be a place of no bias and our communities should be more respectful. Sexuality should not the only label an individual has.
Do you have any other health or lifestyle tips that can help someone else? Leave it in the comment section. For a private consultation please use the “Consult a Doctor” platform.
Love and Light.