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Gay or bisexual men with mental health issues may have an increased risk of becoming infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus associated with AIDS.
A study found that men with four or five mental health issues had nine times the risk of being HIV positive compared to those with no issues.
The study, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, began in 1999. Researchers followed 680 gay and bisexual men and they were tested for HIV every six months. Participants were not HIV positive upon enrollment.
Five mental health conditions were tracked which included depression, alcohol abuse, stimulant use, multi-drug abuse, and exposure to childhood sexual violence. The men self-reported as having had homosexual relations within a year before enrolling in the study.
The study relates with other statistics showing that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems than heterosexuals. The study's findings likely correlate with the higher rate of HIV among homosexuals in the United States (making up about 2/3 of new HIV infections). The study's authors say this latest find adds a new dimension of understanding that may merit further exploration.
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