Since the beginning of the gay health project in 2000, there was a clear desire expressed to take into account all aspects of gay male health. For 20 years, the health of gay and bisexual men was reduced to HIV and AIDS. Based on our findings as well as those in other surveys of gay male health, we must say that AIDS managed to hide a lot of other problems. The concept of overall health in the gay health project takes into account physical, mental, social, spiritual and political aspects of health.
Subjective health status is the off-the-cuff response to the question. “How are you doing?” It is a classic question in health surveys of populations. Most gay men responded very positively to this question. This optimism, however, does not match their real health status as survey findings show.
This graphic shows morbidity (number of people suffering from a disease) and the health risks to gay men over a lifetime. Drug and tobacco consumption carry health risks because they can cause diseases. Due to these illnesses and risks, gay men are in poorer health and at higher risk than men in the general Swiss population. As we can see, HIV infection is not the main health problem of gay men. These findings are displayed in detail in other sections of this website and compared against the health of the general Swiss population wherever data was available from the Swiss Health Survey (ESS, for its initials in French). In other cases, findings on the health of men in the general population of countries similar to Switzerland were used for comparison.
Short-term disability is a temporary diminishing of normal functioning. It is a reliable indicator of the health impact of diseases on people. Even over a period as short as two weeks, the impact of the poor psychological health of gay men is particularly remarkable.