Gay health started in the second half of the 1990s following the appearance of effective (tritherapy) antiretroviral treatments for AIDS. It was a concept developed by major players in the fight against AIDS as well as researchers in the USA, Canada, Australia, some Northern European countries and Geneva.
In the late 1990s, American gay activist Eric Rofes declared an end to the AIDS crisis and advocated for a gay health movement grounded in the strengths of the community and not its so-called weaknesses or faults. He pushed for a holistic approach to health not limited to HIV and not based on pathology. He was convinced that gay men could take care of themselves, each other and the entire community. Furthermore, he was confident gay men could create and run their own health centers and projects.
In order to identify and respond to LGBT populations’ specific health concerns, we must collect data across a number of health aspects, compare it against the general population and offer responses to priority needs. Data collected since 2000 has clearly shown that gay men have a number of health issues that go beyond AIDS. Health providers and community associations must educate themselves on health vulnerabilities faced by LGBT people, adapt their services and broaden their scope so they can respond.