Gay health brings answers to the deep desire of gays to live better and happier.
Gay health is an approach which includes biological, psychological,social and spiritual aspects of health and the way environmental and social factors play into them (health determinants). It is a community effort carried out in cooperation with (and not simply “on behalf of”) the gay community. The concept of gay health started to develop in many countries following the appearance of effective AIDS treatments in the late 1990s.
The Geneva Gay Health Project
This community-action research project brings together researchers and people on the ground to collect data on the overall health of gay men in the Lake Geneva region, set priorities based on their real needs and enact projects meant to address them.
This site explains the initiative, its origins, its vision, its method and tools, research findings, as well as projects and partnerships set up under this project. It is meant to be a reference point for the gay and LGBT communities, their associations and other stakeholders in Switzerland and abroad. To simplify, the term “gay men” will be used to refer to all gay and bisexual men.
The research findings shown in the mandala are answers given by more than 1300 gay and bisexual men in Geneva and the Lake Geneva Region to hundreds of questions in focus groups as part of the baseline survey and 2 additional surveys on mental health and suicide over a ten-year period. If you are in a hurry, you can read the abstract of the doctoral thesis which summarizes the main scientific findings.
The priorities identified in the research have helped launch a number of responses, most of which are still on-going today. Information about these projects and uses made of them are also on this site.
From the fight against AIDS to Gay Health
The Gay Health Project was born in 2000 within Dialogai, a gay association that had been very active in AIDS prevention in the gay community, as well as fighting discrimination and access to treatment since 1985. This is why the Gay Health Project was addressed specifically to the gay male community.
The health and wellbeing of lesbian women
Since 2007, Santé pluriELLE and the Klamydia’s have been active in addressing health issues of lesbian and bisexual women in Switzerland. Lesbian and bisexual women are even more vulnerable, particularly when it comes to mental health and suicide risks. This is why the Blues-out project was launched in 2008 with two components—one for men and one for women– in cooperation with the organization Lestime. While lesbians and gay men share some health vulnerabilities, they also face gender-specific challenges.
LGBT health includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans health all in one. While each group has its own specificities, there are known common issues which allow for synergies between these groups. The term used by health experts is sexual minority health.
Although LGBT health has been taken up in many countries, no organization has done so in Switzerland to date. The question as to whether this should happen, and if so who would be in charge of it, remains unanswered. Top-down answers are of no use without first discussing with the relevant communities and their organizations being truly committed to the task of reducing their health inequalities and responding to their real needs.